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How Can Paternity Be Established in Texas?

Posted on in Family Law

frisco paternity lawyerEvery child has two biological parents. However, there are some situations where a person may not be recognized as a child’s legal parent, and in these cases, paternity may need to be established through the legal system. Doing so will protect the rights of the parent and the child. Both parents will be able to maintain a relationship with their child and be involved in raising them, and the child will have the right to receive child support to ensure that their needs will be met. Paternity can also provide other benefits, such as making sure a child has access to family medical history and giving a child the right to receive an inheritance from their parent or qualify for certain types of benefits, such as Social Security. Parents will want to understand the procedures that can be followed to legally establish paternity.

Acknowledgment of Paternity and Court-Ordered Paternity

It is usually unnecessary to establish paternity when parents are married, since a mother’s spouse is presumed to be a child’s legal parent. In addition, a person will be presumed to be a child’s parent if they were formerly married to the child’s mother, and the child was born within 300 days after the couple’s marriage ended, including through a divorce, annulment, or death. A presumption of paternity will also apply if a person lived in the same home as the child during the first two years after the child was born and told others that they were the child’s parent.

In situations that do not meet the criteria described above, parents will need to take additional steps to establish paternity. The simplest and easiest way to do so is through an acknowledgment of paternity (AOP). This is a legal document that both parents will complete and sign. If necessary, an AOP may state that the child’s presumed father is not the biological father. In these cases, the presumed father will also need to file a denial of paternity.

If parents do not agree to complete an acknowledgment of paternity, or if the identity of the child’s biological father is in doubt, a court-ordered paternity test may be performed. This test will be performed by an accredited laboratory, which will compare the DNA of the child and the alleged father to determine whether that person is the child’s biological parent. A test must show that there is at least a 99 percent probability that the man is the child’s biological father. Once the paternity test results are filed in court, the father will be named the child’s legal parent.

Contact Our Collin County Paternity Lawyer

At The Law Office of Linda Risinger, we can help you take steps to protect your rights as a child’s parent and ensure that your child will receive the support they need. Whether you are a father who needs to establish paternity, a mother who needs to secure child support from your child’s father, or another party who is involved in a paternity case, we can provide you with legal representation and help you address any related issues. Contact our Denton County family law attorney at 972-294-6533 to arrange a free consultation today.

Sources:

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

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

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