Families in Texas may benefit from learning more about how paternity suits relate to matters of child custody. Paternity suits can be described as lawsuits used to force someone to legally acknowledge their biological child. These lawsuits are typically filed when there is a dispute about paternity or if an alleged parent is being uncooperative with establishing paternity. The alleged father, the mother or a government agency may be entitled to file a paternity lawsuit.
Government agencies and mothers typically file paternity suits in an effort obtain child support through the court system. Children and alleged fathers usually file paternity suits in an attempt to have a parental relationship legally recognized by the state. According to Texas law, paternity suits may be filed at any time if the child does not have a presumed father already, even if the child is already considered to be an adult.
Minus a few exceptions, if the child already has a presumed father, a paternity lawsuit must be filed within the first four years of the child’s birth. However, if the presumed father had been misled, or if the presumed father and mother did not live together or engage in relations around the time of conception, the courts may be more lenient with imposing the time limitations. The court system will assign one parent to pay for the test if the parties can’t come to an agreement on the matter.
Anyone who needs help or advice with filing a paternity suit may benefit from conferring with a family lawyer. Legal counsel may be able to help solve paternity or child custody issues outside of court, in mediation or in a formal hearing. These lawyers may be effective in helping negotiate an amicable parenting plan, including visitation rights, child support payments or other important issues.
Source: Findlaw, “Texas Paternity Suits“, September 07, 2014