My question involves paternity law for the State of: Texas
I signed an AOP with my then fiance back at the beginning of November when our daughter was born. He has since jumped ship and has seen her twice since she was born, and had very little to do with her during his visits. He's first said that he will let me have sole custody, but later came back and said he would let me have primary custody, and that there's nothing he can do legally until she's nine months old.
He has moved to another city and is living with is parents who are on the brink of divorce, and all three are emotionally unstable and abusive. He makes a living by buying and selling used furniture which is very unstable financially, and refuses to find other means of income. He has paid in total less than $1000 toward my daughter expenses of nearly $10,000 and my own medical expenses for her birth, and toward raising her. He has a past criminal/drug record, and at the time of my daughter's birth was also married illegally to help in gaining someone their citizenship status. My daughter doesn't know him at all, and he has no previous children or any experience in raising children whatsoever. His emotional abuse towards me has often been when it's just the two of us, so any evidence of such abuse would be a "he said/she said" case. I believe with is previous history, his current living and financial situation, as well as his already limited involvement in the raising of our daughter, that it would be in my daughter's best interest that he not pop in and out of her life. I am more than willing to not go after him for child support and believe that it is best if I raise her on my own until someone adopts her as his daughter in the future.
I have researched termination of paternity in Texas and have found that it is very difficult, if not nearly impossible for paternity to be terminated both voluntarily or involuntarily. I have also found that there are strict statues which must be proven before paternity can be terminated involuntarily (ex. abandonment of the child for at least six months, history of abuse, incarceration, etc.). In addition, I found the "tender age doctrine" that states that in the state of Texas a child is to remain with their mother until the age of three, and no custody cases will be considered until then.
With that said, my questions are:
1) With the given information, would I possibly have a case against him, or at least be on my way to having a case?
2) Is it possible for rights to be voluntarily terminated if there is no parent to take his place?
3) Does the tender age doctrine hold true, or are there more factors to consider?
I will be seeking legal advice, I'm just curious and impatient to see what I have to work with here. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!