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What Does It Mean To Establish Paternity?

It is very common for parties to have children outside of wedlock these days and there is no legal advantage or disadvantage for mothers and fathers who have children outside of wedlock. However, after the child is born the parents may wonder how to legally establish that someone is actually the father of a child.

Someone who believes he is the father of a child can file an acknowledgement of paternity form with the Texas Department of State Health Services. The filing of an acknowledgment of paternity is an acknowledgement by someone that he is the father of a child and establishes a legal relationship with the child, which provides him with all of the rights and duties of a parent. A father who files an acknowledgement of paternity is referred to as an “acknowledged father”.

On the other hand when no acknowledgement of paternity has been filed, a man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged by the mother of the child to be, the father of the child is called an “alleged father”. An alleged father does not have the same established legal relationship with the child as an acknowledged father and must instead file suit to establish any rights as a parent.

Additionally, under certain facts our Texas Family Code establishes a presumption in law that a man is the father of a child. In this instance the man is called a “presumed father”, which includes a man who is married to the mother of the child at the time of birth or a man who married the mother after the birth and made assertions that the child is his. There are other circumstances in which a man could be a presumed father as well. Although the law creates this presumption of parentage, there are legal avenues to deny this presumption if a man asserts that he is in fact not the father of the child.

Understanding Your Rights In A Paternity Suit

Under any of the above circumstances, a paternity suit or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship can be filed with the court. This type of suit is designed to not only formally establish that someone is the father of a child, but is also designed to establish the rights, duties and responsibilities of both parties, including custody, support, and possession of a child.

Get In Touch With A Skilled Family Law Attorney

I have extensive experience in all of the situations detailed above. I can provide you with the sound legal advice and representation that you need and deserve. Call my office at 210-570-9977 or send an email to make an appointment.