There are many reasons why it might be necessary to prove paternity. Whether determining paternity for a custody hearing, establishing parental rights, or to obtain child support, looking for qualified family lawyers with experience in these type of cases can help. In Texas, there are certain rights and responsibilities that can be established through determination of paternity, but to do so, proper procedures must be followed.

Definition of Paternity in Texas

Texas defines paternity as a child’s biological father. There is a difference between paternity and legal parent, so it is important to distinguish the two. A man who fathers a child and acknowledges he is the father of that child is the legal father. It is possible for someone else to be the legal parent of that child; however, paternity is always with the biological father, if that person is known or has acknowledged that fact.

Establishing Paternity in Texas

It is important for the paternity of a child to be determined. Family lawyers state that in a situation where no paternity has been established, a parent can go to the Office of the Attorney General to get the necessary forms to sign and request a court order to have the other party sign them.

If a person refuses to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity for any reason, such as questions over actual paternity, the requesting party will need to retain an attorney. The state can also require paternity testing by court order to resolve a dispute over the parentage of a child. Skilled family lawyers in Texas can file a complaint in family court requesting the refusing parent to either sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity or submit to testing if there is question over paternity.

Family lawyers in Texas can help with this action at any time in a child’s life, even if they are an adult, unless there is already a presumed biological father. If that is the case, then any dispute about paternity must be made before the child is four years of age.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Family lawyers in Texas advise that there are many reasons why determining the paternity of a child is important. An Acknowledgment of Paternity enables the court to order a parent to pay child support and provides certain parental rights, such as visitation. It also supports grounds for custody requests and being a part of decision-making in a child’s life. It can qualify a child for social security and government benefits as well as make it easier to predict hereditary health problems. Additionally, a child may qualify to receive healthcare benefits under a parent’s policy if paternity can be proven outside of the standard familial relationship.

Establishing the paternity of a child is an essential part of parenthood. In Texas, there are a number of ways this can be done depending upon the situation and the parties involved. Anyone facing questions about the paternity of their child should seek the services of experienced and compassionate family lawyers to make the process more manageable.