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Acknowledgment of Paternity in Texas

Texas protects the welfare of the child. Thus, one of the important aspects of the child is his identity. Part of that identity is the lineage. It is even more important since the parents have rights over the child.

Establishing Paternity in Texas

The ideal situation of a married couple is that they are also the mother and father of the child. It does not always happen. In this case, the state is very careful to ensure that the parents’ rights over their children. It is not compromised regardless of the relationship of their biological parents. 

However, it is possible that the law may acknowledge a “Legal Father” who is different from the biological father. 

Paternity is automatically established when two parents marry upon the birth of the child. The husband becomes the legal father. His name should be indicated in the birth certificate. Texas law is strict with the marriage requirement. If the parents of the child are unmarried during birth, the child will not have a legal father. Paternity must be established first. 

Whoever is established as the legal father will be the one whose name is on the birth certificate. He will gain parental rights over the child, whether or not he is the biological father. 

Procedures for Establishing Paternity in Texas


When the mother and father agree that they are the parents, they can sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This is the usual procedure at Texas hospitals when the child is born. It can also be accomplished at a later date and mailed to the Vital Statistics Unit. If the hospital had already mailed in the birth certificate, there will be an additional fee.


If there is a dispute and the alleged father does not want to acknowledge paternity, then it the courts have to intervene. There will be a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage filed, and if the father refuses to attend the court proceedings, the judge can make a default order declaring the person as the alleged father. 

If there is uncertainty about who is the biological parent, the judge can order DNA testing. If the judge determines the father after the DNA test, then they can proceed to adjudicate parentage. 

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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