Establishing paternity in Texas

Fort Worth parents involved in a custody dispute may be interested in how paternity is established. This can be very important, given the various benefits that establishing paternity can have for everyone involved.

Under Texas law, the term paternity refers to the legal definition of fatherhood. This creates a legal and personal relationship between the father and child. In cases where the parents are married, paternity of the mother’s husband is presumed. When parents are not married, however, there is no presumption of paternity. Paternity must be established separately through one of two methods: either the parents must sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity or there must be a court order establishing paternity.

Once paternity is established, all three parties enjoy certain rights with regard to the family. The father has the right to have his name on the child’s birth certificate and the right to care for the child. The mother benefits from the additional support under the law and the ability to bring a support or custody action in court. The child benefits from both parents’ access to their medical records, the sense of identity that comes from this legal bond between father and child and the ability to be financially provided for.

In cases where paternity is in dispute, the court must be petitioned to rule on the issue. This can be difficult without the assistance and guidance of a family law attorney. The attorney may be able to assess the paternity case and bring that case in front of a judge. The attorney may also be useful in representing the parent at a paternity or child custody hearing.