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How To Establish Paternity in Texas

 Posted on February 07, 2024 in Family Law

Blog ImagePaternity is an incredibly important issue that must be addressed if an alleged father legally wants to have anything to do with his offspring. However, not everyone knows what is required to determine paternity. In some cases, paternity is already assumed, whereas in others it will take a little bit more work to establish paternity. Discuss your options with an attorney to figure out what you will need to do to move forward with establishing paternity.

Paternity For Married and Unmarried Parents

When parents are married, the father is presumed to be the legal father of the child. This is considered paternity presumption and does not require anything further from either parent in establishing paternity. Unwed fathers are not automatically recognized as biological fathers. Legal steps must be taken to establish paternity, which can be done in a few ways.

The Importance of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is incredibly important for multiple reasons, including:

  • Custody, visitation, and support orders

  • Inheritance and other financial benefits

  • Creating a stronger parent-child relationship

  • Health insurance coverage

  • Access to important information regarding a child

Legal paternity must be established before any parental rights will be granted to the father. In turn, paternity must be established before an unwed mother has the opportunity to receive child support.

Knowing who the father is can provide a child with a sense of identity. The child can connect to their extended family and create a strong emotional bond with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents they may have not known about otherwise.

Ways To Establish Paternity

For unwed parents, there are two primary ways to establish paternity in Texas:

The more common way of establishing paternity is through an AOP. It is an official form that is voluntarily signed by both parents claiming that the father is the legal and biological father of a child. You can often find an AOP inside the hospital where the child is or will be born and it can be signed before or after the mother gives birth.

There are two different paths that parents can use for establishing paternity:

  • File a case with the court

  • Going through the Office of the Attorney General

A court order can be submitted by a parent or an attorney and is usually meant for parents who cannot agree on paternity. A judge will order a DNA test for the alleged father and, if it is found that the alleged father is the biological father of a child, the judge will name him as the legal father. The judge may then also determine child support, conservatorship, and placement of that child.

Going through the Office of the Attorney General will likely include an AOP and a DNA test to establish paternity. Once paternity is established, both parents must sign an agreed paternity order that will also be signed by a judge. Establishing paternity in this way may help the parents avoid having to appear in court.

Contact a Tarrant County, TX Family Law Attorney

As you can see, establishing paternity is crucial for both the parents as well as the child. If you need help establishing paternity for a child, Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. can help. Contact the office at 817-498-4105 for a free consultation with an experienced Hurst, TX paternity lawyer today.

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