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How to Establish Paternity in Texas

Posted on in Paternity

Texas paternity laws, Texas paternity lawyerAside from the many emotional implications of establishing paternity, there are also a variety of practical advantages. For example, establishing paternity gives a father certain parental rights, including claims to visitation and child custody. Unfortunately, the process can be complex and time-consuming, so if you are interested in establishing or denying paternity, it is important to contact an experienced child custody attorney.

Establishing Paternity

There are a few different ways to establish a father-child relationship, including:

  • By presumption;
  • Through an acknowledgement of paternity;
  • By court order; and
  • Through an adoption.

Presumption of Paternity

A man is presumed to be the father of a child if he:

  • Is married to the mother of the child and the child was born during the marriage;
  • Was married to the child’s mother and the child is born within 300 days of the date of the marriage’s termination, whether by death, annulment, divorce, or declaration of invalidity;
  • Married the mother of the child before the child was born even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid;
  • Married the child’s mother after the birth and voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child and the assertion was filed with the vital statistics unit, he was named on the birth certificate, or he promised to support the child as his own; or
  • Continuously resided in the child’s household for the first two years of his or her life and he represented to others that the child was his.

A presumption of paternity can only be rebutted by:

  • A court order; or
  • The filing of a valid denial of paternity in conjunction with the filing by another person of an acknowledgment of paternity.

Acknowledgment of Paternity

If the parties agree that a man is the biological father of a child, both parents may sign an acknowledgment of paternity, which takes effect on the date of the child’s birth or on the date of the filing, in which case, the child’s birth certificate will be amended.

Alternatively, if the mother or alleged father refuses to acknowledge paternity, one of the parties can file a petition to adjudicate parentage. If the father does not appear in court, the judge will enter a default order in his absence, which essentially declares that the man is the child’s legal father. In the event that either the mother or father denies paternity, the court will order DNA testing, which will guide its determination. During the proceeding, the court can also decide any issues involving custody, visitation, and child support.

Establishing paternity can significantly affect a child’s life, so if you are interested in beginning the process, it is vital to obtain the advice of an aggressive Round Rock child custody attorney. If you are involved in a custody dispute and live near the Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, or Leander areas, please contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512-610-6199 and we will help you schedule a consultation.

Sources:

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/amendparentage.shtm
https://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/amendparentage.shtm

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