Fort Worth paternity lawyers represent clients in Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas in paternity suits. Establishing paternity is an important part of a father obtaining custody access to his child or a mother establishing child support for a child’s father. The Texas Family Code establishes procedures to determine paternity. If you need to establish paternity for a child then contact a Fort Worth divorce lawyer to start on your paternity suit.
Establishing paternity in Fort Worth, Texas
Under the Texas Family Code the first step to establish custody rights or child support obligations is to establish paternity. In many cases paternity is presumed because the parents were married at the time of birth. Texas presumes the husband is the father of any children born to the wife during the marriage. In cases where the child was not a product of a marriage, Texas follows different procedures. A father may voluntarily admit to paternity by signing an acknowledgement of paternity. An acknowledgement of paternity results in a legal finding of paternity so before any father signs an acknowledgement of paternity he should consider speaking with a Fort Worth paternity lawyer first.
The Texas Family Code also permits establishing paternity through a DNA paternity test. A DNA test can provide a scientific basis for establishing or denying paternity. If a legal presumption does not establish paternity and the father does not sign an acknowledgement of paternity then the court must receive evidence of paternity. A DNA test will provide that evidence. If the father will not submit to a DNA test or cannot be immediately found then the court can order a DNA test on a biological family member of the alleged father. Before pursuing a DNA test you should speak with a Fort Worth paternity attorney.
What happens after establishing paternity in Texas?
Once a court establishes paternity a father gains all the rights and responsibilities of a parent. These include rights to access and visitation to the child and to participate in parental decision-making. Paternity also results in an obligation to provide support for the child. This typically results in an order for child support payments. Generally establishing paternity is the first step in a child support lawsuit. This is a critical step for the alleged father. Once the mother establishes paternity and a Tarrant County court orders child support payments, the father owes child support until the child reaches eighteen. Undoing an incorrect paternity finding is difficult and expensive. Far better to work with a Fort Worth paternity lawyer to get it right the first time.