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Teen parents, child support and child custody in Texas

Having a child is a big responsibility. For teenage parents, having to learn about the family law system is sometimes necessary if they have to seek child support or to establish paternity. The teen parent will soon learn that while they can be held responsible to care for a child, they still aren't considered responsible in the eyes of the Texas civil court system if they aren't yet 18 years old. There are some special considerations for these teen parents as they venture through the child support and family law system.

When teen parents have a baby, some of the support for the baby might come from the baby's grandparents. Even when that occurs, it is still vital for the father to have paternity established so he can protect his right to see his child. The mother will likely have to file for child support to ensure she can adequately support the child.

The teen parent will have to have a "next friend" with him or her when he or she is going through legal proceedings. A next friend is an adult who can ensure the rights of the teen parent are upheld during the proceedings. In most cases, this is a parent or guardian. If parents or a guardian isn't available, a trusted friend can stand by as the teen's next friend. If no trusted adult is available, the court can appoint a next friend for the teen parent.

Teens having to go through a pregnancy and raise a child isn't easy on the teens or the family members. Learning about how the family law system can help the teens and protect the rights of the teens can help family members know how to help the teen's parents.

Source: Attorney General of Texas, "Frequently Asked Questions" Dec. 16, 2014

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