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Establishing accurate paternity for a child is an extremely important step. Figuring out who is truly the father has a great impact on the lives of the children, the biological parents and spouses who unexpectedly find themselves married to a parent.
When legal paternity is accurate, many other decisions and issues begin to fall into place. Who pays child support? Who visits with the child and when? How might a divorce turn out now?
While the emotions around this topic can run high — especially when surprises are involved or people feel tricked or abandoned — our attorneys are here to help. Contact a McKinney family attorney at Nordhaus Walpole PLLC today to learn more about how to establish paternity in Texas.
Obtaining Child Support
When a child is born out of wedlock in Texas, you will need to establish paternity if you want to pay or receive child support or begin visitation between the father and child.
Sometimes, this is as simple as completing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form, but at other times, the father is not certain of his genetic parentage or is uninterested in taking part in the child’s life -- including paying for him or her.
When this happens, we can file a paternity case. If we take that route, the courts will determine paternity based on genetic testing — which is regarded as highly accurate — or in the event the named father does nothing to respond, the court will close the case based on evidence the mother provides.
Once paternity is established, we are able to file for child support based on the father’s income and other factors.
Presumption of Paternity
If a child is born into wedlock, Texas presumes the husband is the child’s father.
Whether this is true or not from a biological perspective, if no one does anything to change this legally, divorce proceedings will continue on the basis of the husband being the father. This means the husband will be responsible for participating in the best interest of the child and child custody or visitation and support matters will reflect this paternity.
If you believe you are not the father of a child conceived by your wife during your marriage, you may simply want to divorce before the child is born to avoid paternity. This isn’t always possible, particularly if your wife insists you are the father, but it may provide the simplest solution.
In other instances, you may have supported and invested in the pregnancy both financially and emotionally, only to find out upon the child’s birth that he or she is not yours biologically.
If the child is born to your marriage, you will need to file for a denial of paternity. This requires two things in Texas:
- You sign a legal form that denies you are the genetic father of the child.
- The genetic parents sign legal forms acknowledging true paternity.
- If the genetic parents will not sign the acknowledgement, you will need to request a court order and a judge will declare paternity on your behalf.
Our attorneys will work with you to try to resolve paternity denials as quickly as possible so you can move forward with your own life unhindered by unfair burdens.
If you need help with paternity issues in Texas, please contact a Nordhaus Walpole attorney right away to begin your case.