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When Do Parents Need to Legally Establish Paternity in Texas?

Posted on in Family Law

Fredericksburg Paterntity LawyerEvery child has two parents. However, there are some situations where a parent may not be legally recognized as a child’s parent. This usually occurs when parents are unmarried, although there may be other situations where a person who is believed to be a child’s biological father does not have a legally established relationship with the child. In these cases, paternity will need to be legally established. Paternity can be a crucial element of protecting a father’s rights, and it will also ensure that both of a child’s legal parents will be obligated to provide the child with financial support. By understanding when it may be necessary to establish paternity and the procedures for doing so, parents can make sure they are taking steps to protect their rights and their child’s best interests.

Presumption of Paternity in Texas

Texas law outlines several situations where a man will be presumed to be the legal father of a child:

  • The man was married to the child’s mother at the time of birth.

  • The man had previously been married to the child’s mother, and the child was born no more than 300 days after the termination of the couple’s marriage through divorce, death, or annulment. This presumption will also apply if the couple’s marriage was terminated because it was determined to be invalid.

  • The man married the mother after the child was born, was named as the father on the child’s birth certificate, and promised to support the child as if it was his own.

  • The parents were unmarried, but during the first two years after the child was born, the man lived in the same household as the child and represented himself as the child’s parent to others.

If a child’s father does not meet the requirements for legal presumption of paternity, the mother and father may file an acknowledgment of paternity, which will legally recognize the man as the child’s parent. If a man who is presumed to be a child’s father believes that he is not the biological father, he may file a denial of paternity. This denial will only be valid if it is accompanied by an acknowledgment of paternity by another man.

If a man is not willing to acknowledge paternity voluntarily, or if there is disagreement between the parties about the identity of the child’s biological father, either party may file a paternity suit in court. The court will then order DNA testing. This is done by taking a genetic sample such as a cheek swab from the child and the alleged father, and the samples will be tested by an accredited laboratory. If tests show that the man has a 99 percent probability of being the child’s biological father, the court will issue an order of paternity naming him as the legal parent of the child.

Contact Our Fredericksburg Paternity Lawyer

Whether you are a mother or a man who is presumed or alleged to be the father of a child, you can make sure you are following the correct procedures to establish or deny paternity by working with an experienced lawyer. At the Law Office of Russ Alan Baker, PLLC, we can make sure you take the right steps during the legal process, and we can also help you address related issues, such as child custody and child support. To arrange a free consultation, contact our Llano County family law attorney at 325-216-2006.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.160.htm

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/child-support/paternity

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