Paternity or Parentage needs to be established when a child is born to parents who are not married. If the mother is married to another man, he is presumed to be the father of the child. If the biological father wishes to claim his child, he must file a paternity suit to challenge the presumed father’s paternity and establish himself as the father of the child. If there is any doubt as to who the father of the child is, a paternity test should be requested.
Paternity Law in Texas
Once paternity is established, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to undo it if the man later learns he is not the father. So, if there is ANY doubt at all, a paternity test should be conducted at the beginning of the process. Paternity tests are now done by a buccal swab, where an instrument is rubbed against the inside of the cheek, gathering the person’s DNA. It is not painful. In order to test, the child and alleged father (or a suitable relative of the alleged father) must be tested. Usually, the mother will be tested as well.
Once paternity is established, if the parents are not together, the court will enter orders addressing conservatorship, possession, and support. The court will also order that a new birth certificate issue reflecting the father of the child. There is also a very good possibility that the child’s last name will be changed to the father’s surname if the father wants his child to carry his name.