To many Texas fathers, paternity may seem like a straightforward matter: either you are the father of a child or you are not. However, the establishment of paternity is not so simple in the eyes of the law, and we at the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway have seen men go to court either to challenge the presumption of paternity or to establish parental rights. Under Texas state law, three classifications of paternity exist: presumed, alleged and acknowledged.
Texas state law presumes that you are a child's father under two specific circumstances. If at the time of the child's birth you and the child's mother are husband and wife, you are the presumed father of her children. If you did not marry the mother until after the birth of the child, the law still presumes you to be the father if you assert that the child is your biological offspring.
You are an alleged father if either you or the child's mother claim that you are the father, but you are not married to the child's mother and you have not filed an acknowledgment of paternity. If you are an alleged father and you want to establish parental rights, you must file a suit.
Regardless of your relationship with the child's mother, whether marital or otherwise, you can file an acknowledgment of paternity form with the Texas Department of State Health Services if you believe that you are the father of the child. The filing will grant you status as an acknowledged father and establish your parental rights. In most cases, this form will be available for you to file at the child's birth.
Even if you have every reason to believe that you are the father of a child, you must legally establish paternity in court if you face a challenge to your parental rights. More information about paternity is available on our website.