In Texas, paternity is automatically established when parents are married, but not so when parents are unwed at the time of a child's birth. A presumed father must establish paternity to have his name on the birth certificate and receive visitation rights. When paternity is uncertain or the alleged parents disagree, a lawsuit can resolve things.
At W. Tyler Moore, PC, our family law attorney is dual certified in family law and civil trial law and provides pragmatic advice to paternity legal clients. We proudly assist mothers and fathers alike in paternity lawsuits to help them pursue and obtain their rights as parents.
Establishing paternity can be beneficial for mothers and fathers, albeit for different reasons. Mothers may be unable to claim child support and must raise their children alone without an established father. Alleged fathers may be unable to receive custody or enjoy visitation with their children without establishing paternity. Establishing paternity can also be hugely beneficial to a minor child.
It's important to realize that Texas treats paternity matters differently than other states. Key areas of difference include:
If there is a presumed father, a lawsuit must be filed within the first four years of the child's life.
If there is an alleged father, a paternity suit can be filed anytime — even when the child comes of age.
Blood or DNA tests can be used to establish paternity.
Paternity lawsuits can proceed over the objections of one alleged parent.
If paternity is established with 99 percent accuracy (since no test proves 100 percent), the parties may negotiate child support, custody and visitation. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court may decide.
With paternity established, mothers who had been raising children alone can receive physical and financial support for their upbringing. And fathers can assume the responsibilities — and enjoy the benefits — of becoming a parent, including establishing a bond with their children.
At W. Tyler Moore, PC, our dedicated attorney has more than 40 years of experience with paternity and family law matters. We can help you establish paternity and counsel you through the process so you understand the proceedings, the benefits and your responsibilities. Contact us today by calling 713-322-3950 or filling out our online contact form to discuss your circumstances and find out how a paternity suit can help you exercise your parental rights.