Establishing paternity in Texas

In Texas, paternity cases may be filed in order to determine whether a man is a child's biological father. Paternity can be established by court order, through presumption or through the voluntary acknowledgment of a man that he is the father. Men may want to establish paternity so they can enjoy rights as a child's father, while women may want to file a paternity case so their child can access benefits, receive child support or learn of any unknown health conditions their children may have inherited.

For men who are married to the mother of a child, either when the child is born or at any time within 300 days prior to the birth, paternity is presumed. If the man believes he is not the father, he can file a denial of paternity with the court to seek genetic testing. Paternity is also presumed in cases in which the man lived continuously with the child during the child's first two years of life and the man told others the child was his. Finally, paternity is also presumed when a man marries the mother of a child after the child's birth, and the man has either acknowledged he is the father on the child's birth certificate, voluntarily claimed paternity or has signed a voluntary statement that he will provide support for the child in question.

There are multiple forms that must be filed in paternity disputes. The type of forms used depends largely upon whether the party is seeking to establish or deny paternity of a child.

Paternity cases are time-sensitive, as courts believe all children deserve the benefit of support from both parents. A family law attorney could help people file the correct documents and represent their interests in court.

Source: Texas Law Help, "Texas Paternity Law: Frequently Asked Questions", September 30, 2014

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