When paternity is established; a child in Texas becomes eligible for certain benefits, such as child support and health insurance. The child's father is also given certain legal rights and obligations. Sometimes these issues are raised at birth, while in other cases they only arise during the child’s upbringing. Texas provides a few different methods to establish paternity.
One method to establish paternity is through acknowledgment. This involves a mother and a father signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Form. Often, this happens at the hospital at a child's birth, but the form may also be completed through the office of vital records. After it is executed and filed, an acknowledgment may be difficult to revoke, although it is possible depending on the circumstances.
Another method of establishing paternity is through presumption. This method applies such that someone is presumed to be a child's father when the mother and he are married, and the child is born during their marriage or before the 301st day after their divorce. It is also presumed if someone marries the mother after the birth of the child and voluntarily claims paternity in a record in which he promised to support the child as his, or if someone continuously lives with the child for the child's first two years and represents to others that the child is his. The presumed father is recognized as the father unless the court orders otherwise, or he signs a denial of paternity, and the true genetic father and mother sign an acknowledgment of paternity.
Finally, the court may adjudicate paternity if the parties request the court to establish parentage. The purpose of the action is often to require genetic testing, such as when a mother claims someone is the father, and he is skeptical of this claim. A mother, father, or child may initiate the proceeding. If the father fails to appear, the court may enter a default judgment. When a father appears and contests the order, he may request genetic testing. An order is entered based on DNA test results.
It is important to retain an experienced attorney to help determine paternity issues. If you are concerned about this type of matter, the Texas paternity attorneys at Ball Morse Lowe PLLC can help you protect or assert your rights. Call us at (214) 272-0964 or contact us via our online form to set up a consultation with a paternity attorney.
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