DEALING WITH PATERNITY ISSUES
Paternity involves making a legal determination of parentage. In general, it is an easier task to determine who is mother, so in practice paternity deals with identifying the father. The goal of the law In Texas is to find out what father is legally responsible for a child. Many times, this involves a request for child support, but it can also involve matters of schooling and health care.
Some men hope to establish paternity so that they can have a relationship with their child. In some cases, a father is not allowed visitation with the child or a voice in decisions about how to raise the child. Without legal establishment of paternity, a father may not even have the right to make medical decisions for the child. In some situations, paternity is presumed. The Texas Family Code outlines some of those scenarios:
- When the child was born during the marriage to the child’s mother or within 300 days of ending the marriage
- When the man married the child’s mother after the birth of the child and voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and was either named as the father on the birth certificate or his assertion was filed with the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics
- When the man married the child’s mother within 300 days of the birth of the child
In other cases, a father hoping to prove or disprove paternity, or another interested person hoping to prove paternity must do so with a lawsuit adjudicating parentage under the Texas Family Code.
In today’s scientific world, paternity can be easily and accurately established. Since 2011, men have had the chance to challenge paternity in court even if a final paternity order has already been issued under Texas law. We have had several situations where a man spent much of the chid’s life supporting the child, only to find out later that he was not the biological father. Under previous law, he was unable to challenge this. However, the ability to challenge this law is still limited and the father’s rights may expire after a period of time.
PRESUMED FATHER VS. ADJUDICATED FATHER
In many respects, it is harder to deny parentage after a presumption than when a Court is asked to make a finding of parentage. A man who has denied being the father from the beginning, and who brings forth evidence that he and the mother were not co-habitating or having sexual intercourse, may be saved by genetic testing. It is not so easy for a presumed father, who admits to being the father over a period of time, only to find out that a mistake of fact my exist.
HELP FOR YOUR PATERNITY CASE
Our firm is experienced in every aspect of family law including all paternity issues. We have helped many clients establish paternity or demonstrate that they were not the father of a child. We understand how stressful paternity disputes can be and we strive to help our clients resolve them quickly, with the least amount of stress possible. Call today to learn how we can help you.