Paternity is a very important step is establishing the legal relationship between a father and his child. Although the presumption of fatherhood in Texas is very strong, you may need to establish paternity in order finalize a court order regarding child support.
In the Mansfield-Fort Worth area, child supporty and paternity attorney Wendy Hart has helped numerous people with these complex legal issues. The legal process in Texas for establishing paternity can be straightforward, and this post will explore some of the nuances of this legal process in Texas.
If you need a prominent and experienced family law attorney for your divorce, paternity case, or child support case, call the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart today.
Why You Need to Paternity for Child Support
In short, paternity in legalese means “fatherhood,” and “establishing paternity” involves the determination of a child’s legal father, as well as the related rights and obligations of the father to the child. The simple question of “who is the father,” however, is sometimes muddied.
In Texas, parternity is automatically established if the child’s parents are married to each other when the child was born. If this is the case, and if you’re going through a divorce and determining child support, you’ll already have the paternity requirement established. If the parents weren’t married when the child was born, however, you’ll need to establish paternity before the court can finalize the child support order.
Whether the father is presumed (married when the child was born) or legally acknowledged as the father, the father will have to pay court-ordered child support. If the supposed “father” has not established paternity, then the mother of the child may have a difficult time getting the father to pay child support.
Ways to Establish Paternity in Texas
In Texas, paternity is generally established in two ways: voluntarily or involuntary. Voluntary paternity occurs when the mother and father agree that the father is, in fact, the biological father. In this case, the mother and father need to sign an “Acknowledgment of Paternity,” which parents typically do at the hospital shortly after the child’s birth.
If you’re unsure about this document, you can check with the hospital, the local birth registrar, the Attorney General’s Child Support Office, and the Vital Statistics Unit. You can also sign this document and mail it to the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin.
Involutary paternity is the second way to establish paternity in Texas. This process occurs in Texas family courts, and it’s often the result of a contested paternity. Involuntary paternity begins with a “Petition to Adjudicate Parentage” document, and the father is summoned to court. If he doesn’t show, the judge might order a default decree declaring the father the legal parent. Also, DNA testing may be involved when father denies or is uncertain of paternity.
After establishing paternity, the mother can seek court-ordered child support.
Call the Law Office Wendy L. Hart Today
Located in Mansfield and serving the Mansfield-Fort Worth and Tarrant County areas, the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart offers experienced-backed legal representation and guidance. Our goal is to get you through paternity issues, as well as any other family law issues, while diligently protecting your interests. To get started on a paternity case, child support and custody, or divorce, call the Law Office of Wendy L. Hart at (817) 842-2336 today.