Obviously, for most children born in a hospital or with the assistance of medical professionals, there is rarely a dispute about the identity of the mother of a child. On the other hand, and again for obvious reasons, the identity of the father can become a significant issue.
Generally speaking, the law “presumes” that a man is the father of a child when:
This may be rebutted by either an “adjudication” (a Court order) or, when the presumed father files a valid denial of paternity and another person files a valid acknowledgment of paternity. However, if you are not a “presumed” father then you would need to “establish” your fatherhood – through a process known as “paternity.”
Under Texas’ version of the Uniform Parentage Act, a father is “established” by either the signing of a valid acknowledgment of paternity or an adjudication by a Court. When there is a question as paternity, usually the Courts resort to genetic/DNA testing through an accredited laboratory. If you have serious questions about whether you are actually the father of a child, then you should:
Similarly, if you believe you are the father of a child and want to establish paternity, immediately seek the advice of an attorney and attempt to obtain an order for genetic testing. In such circumstances, the alleged father should understand that only when legal paternity is established will that person have the legal rights and the ability to demand possession and access to the child (sometimes called “visitation”).
If you have a legal issue related to Paternity, please contact Cindy Veidt for an appointment to discuss.