Paternity issues may take on great significance when parental rights, child custody, or child support are at issue. In some cases, paternity may be in doubt, due to adultery or because of multiple partners. This may result in a legal quagmire in which it is challenging to determine who owes what to whom. Often, it is necessary to establish paternity with the assistance of a child custody lawyer to secure certain rights and obligations. For example, a mother may need to establish paternity in the case of a father who has failed to provide monetary support to his child voluntarily. Or, a father interested in being involved in a child's life may need to establish paternity to obtain a possession and access schedule with the child. At the McClure Law Group, our Dallas paternity lawyers provide legal representation in connection with these issues in many different contexts.Understanding the Impact of Paternity
If paternity is established, a child in Texas becomes eligible for certain benefits, such as child support and health insurance. The child's father is also given certain legal rights and obligations. Sometimes these issues are raised at birth, while in other cases, they only arise during the child’s upbringing. Texas provides a few different methods to establish paternity.
One method to establish paternity is through acknowledgement. This involves a mother and a father signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Form. Often, this happens at the hospital at a child's birth, but the form may also be completed through the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics. After it is executed and filed, an acknowledgement may be difficult to revoke, although it is possible depending on the circumstances.
Another method of establishing paternity is through presumption. This presumption applies such that someone is presumed to be a child's father when the mother and he are married, and the child is born during their marriage or within 300 days after their divorce. It is also presumed if someone marries the mother after the birth of the child and voluntarily claims paternity in a record in which he promised to support the child as his, or if someone continuously lives with the child for the child's first two years and represents to others that the child is his. The presumed father is recognized as the father unless the court orders otherwise, or he signs a denial of paternity, and the true genetic father and mother sign an acknowledgement of paternity.
Finally, the court may adjudicate paternity if the parties request the court to establish parentage. The purpose of the action is often to require genetic testing, such as when a mother claims someone is the father, and he is skeptical of this claim. A mother, father, or child may initiate the proceeding. If the father fails to appear, the court may enter a default judgment. When a father appears and contests the order, he may request genetic testing. An order is entered based on DNA test results.Contact a Paternity Lawyer in Dallas
It is important to retain an experienced attorney to help determine paternity issues. If you are concerned about this type of matter, the Dallas paternity attorneys at McClure Law Group can help you protect or assert your rights. We also maintain a Collin County office in Plano (by appointment) and represent people in Fort Worth, Garland, Irving, Richardson, McKinney, Frisco, and Rockwall, as well as other areas of Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Denton, Tarrant, and Rockwall Counties. Call us at 214.692.8200 or contact us via our online form to set up a consultation with a divorce attorney.