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3 Ways to Establish Paternity in Texas

Posted on in Family Law

TX paternity lawyerEstablishing who a child’s legal parents are offers a number of benefits for mothers, fathers, and children alike. Fathers can assert their parental rights and seek time with their children. Mothers can assert the child’s right to receive financial support from the father. In most cases, children benefit from having a relationship and spending time with both of their parents.

The relationship between fathers and children is important, and establishing paternity is the best way to protect that relationship. Or, in some cases, it may be the only way to ensure that both parents are sharing the responsibility of supporting the child. Whatever your reason for needing to establish paternity, a qualified attorney will be able to assess your situation and guide you to the best way of establishing paternity for your child.

What Are the Ways to Establish Paternity in Texas?

There are multiple paths to establishing legal paternity in Texas. Some are simpler than others. Which method is best for a particular situation often depends on whether the father and mother are both on board with the process. If one party is uncooperative, a court order may be needed to force a paternity test. Ways to establish paternity include:

  • Marriage - Paternity is automatic for children born to a married mother and father - but can be later disputed. Married same-sex couples in Texas who welcome a child born to one spouse should consult an attorney, as they may need to take additional steps to establish legal parenthood for the spouse who is not biologically related to the child.
  • Acknowledgment of Paternity - There are two ways to use an Acknowledgment of Paternity. It may be offered to unmarried parents if they are both present at the hospital when the child is born. If this was not done at the time of birth, it can still be signed at a later time and mailed to the Vital Statistics Unit. This is generally the simplest way for unmarried parents to establish paternity when they are both onboard.
  • Order Adjudicating Parentage - This is generally done when paternity is disputed. Either parent or an appointed person acting on behalf of the child can file a petition to adjudicate parentage. If the alleged father fails to appear, he may be declared the legal father by default. Otherwise, the court may order a DNA test. However, if the father responds by admitting that he is the father, an order can be entered without testing.

Legal parentage can be complicated, especially in modern times. Different and complex issues can arise when children are born through assisted reproduction technology and surrogacy agreements come into play. If you have any concerns about the legal parentage of your children, it is best to speak to a qualified attorney.

Contact a Texas Paternity Lawyer

The Clark Law Group is committed to protecting children and parents by establishing legal parentage. Our experienced Dallas paternity attorneys will guide you through the method of establishing paternity that makes the most sense for your family. Call us at 469-906-2266 to schedule a confidential consultation.



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