When a man and woman who are not married and live in Texas have a child, the issue of father’s rights can become a complicated matter. Paternity is presumed in Texas and work out well if a couple is living together, it could change if the couple’s circumstances change. Even if a couple does not plan to marry, it is essential for a father to work with a family law attorney and establish paternity in order to obtain his legal rights regarding any children born to that couple. Without proof of paternity, a father will have difficulty assuming his parental rights and need the help of a child custody lawyer.
Presumption of Paternity in Texas
In the State of Texas, a man is presumed to be a child’s father, even without the proof of DNA testing, according to the following assumptions:
- The man and the mother are presumed to be legally married before the birth of a child.
- The man and the mother are legally married and they have a child during the marriage.
- The child is born before the 301st day after the marriage is ended due to death, annulment, divorce, or invalidity.
For a father who wants to claim rights to his child, he should file with the Texas Paternity Registry. The intent is to register in case a child is: being considered for adoption; comes under the control of CPS or Child Protective Services for any reason; or anything else takes place that might affect the paternal rights of the person who is recording the information. It is important that this notice be filed either before the child's birth or within 31 days after the birth of the child.
Establishing Paternity to Maintain Parental Rights
Since an unmarried father may not be presumed to be the father of his child or could lose his parental rights if the living situation changes, it is essential for a couple to verify paternity. Doing so gives the father important rights in raising the child and ensures that the father and his other family members are given access to the child as dictated by state custody laws. By working with a child custody lawyer to establish paternity, unmarried parents can always provide what is best for their child, even if the two parents no longer maintain a relationship and live separately.
To maintain paternal rights and avoid problems related to presumed paternity in Texas, unmarried fathers should verify their paternity through genetic testing. In doing so, an unmarried father will have the same rights as a divorced father, including conservatorship, access to their child, and the ability to assist in making important decisions for the child. It is recommended that any father not married to his child's mother talk to an experienced family law attorney;about helping him establish paternity, and avoid the potential problems that could arise due to the Texas presumption of paternity law!
Foreman Family Law, PLLC
309 North Washington Avenue, Suite 12
Bryan TX 77803