Father’s Rights

9 posts

Paternity and DNA testing

Paternity and DNA Testing in Texas: What You Need to Know

It can be pretty horrible when you’re just minding your own business and you suddenly receive a letter from the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division, demanding that you pay thousands of dollars in child support. It would feel as if your world has turned upside down in a matter of seconds. To make it worse, the letter informs you that you have been delinquent in paying child support. It’s a sticky situation, especially when you know in your soul and conscience that you are not a father – you are certain that you do not have a child. Does this shocking situation sound familiar? No, it’s not a plot of a movie, this really happens in real life. Of course, cases that require paternity determination do not always unfold like this, but you get the point: it’s pretty complicated. If you are in a similar situation, or if you know someone who is in a situation similar to the one we mentioned above, you need to understand that the  situation calls for a family law attorney. Legal advice would certainly be necessary to sort out the case. In cases such as the one mentioned in our scenario above, the […]

divorced parents in texas

A Holiday Reminder for Divorced Parents in Texas

  The holiday season may be almost over but it’s not a secret that it remains a challenge for divorced parents in Texas. Divorced parents also have to buy gifts, make and carry out plans for the holidays but it’s a period they have to deal with a little differently. To top that off, the holiday obligations all parents have to deal with can cause them to lose sight of what really counts during the holiday season. This season is still one that’s meant to be celebrated and enjoyed.   Stresses and Challenges of Divorced Parents in Texas   If you are a divorced parent, you must be already well-versed regarding the challenges and the struggles this holiday season brings. For sure you have your own holiday plans, and your spouse also has his or her own plans. Both of your expectations could be different, which poses as a potential risk for disappointments on either side during the holidays. Even if things go well between you and your ex-spouse for the rest of the year in terms of co-parenting, it is the holiday season at the end of the year that will really test your civility towards each other. There […]

christmas after your divorce

How To Prepare for Christmas After Your Divorce

The biggest holiday season of the year is approaching and for those who had just been divorced, the prospect of spending Christmas after your divorce can be daunting. Christmas is an event that is usually spent with family. The first Christmas after your divorce could be the toughest, since you could feel at a loss in the midst of the festivities. You should expect things to be different. In the past, you might have spent the holiday season from beginning to end with your kids, but now you will have to share the kids with your spouse, and it’s highly likely that you will spend the holidays separately. Of course, you will still be able to create and share priceless memories with your children at Christmas after your divorce but it will never be like the previous years again. It’s not something to be bitter about though. You should also consider your ex-spouse, who would also want to create new Christmas memories with your children in his or her own way.   Christmas Visitation After a Divorce in Texas If your final divorce decree was made in a Texas court, surely, one parent would have been awarded the right concerning […]

how to establish paternity in Texas

How To Establish Paternity in Texas

When a married couple has a child, even without properly establishing paternity, people will automatically assume that the husband is the father. In order for that thought to be legally changed at court, ample evidence is necessary. It’s different when an unmarried couple has a child, it is often necessary for one parent to establish the identity of the father of the child. This is very important because this is the fact that the child will have to grow up with. This also matters because the child will need support from the father, such as financial support. Usually, despite being unmarried, the father would assume that his rights to the child are guaranteed even at the face of separation from the child’s mother. Acknowledging Paternity Usually, the acknowledgment of paternity is done at the hospital, after the child’s birth. There is an Acknowledgement of Paternity document that both parents can sign before it is submitted to the government office. When the father signs the documents, all doubts about paternity is put to rest, and the father’s name is added to the birth certificate, usually. If the couple is not married, the father is informed of the rights and duties of […]

Texas Paternity FAQ

Texas Paternity FAQ

Frequently Asked Legal Questions About Paternity in Texas There are a lot of questions about paternity in Texas that get asked regularly.  We wanted to save people a little bit of googling and try answer as few of the most common ones in one place.  This guide to the frequently asked legal questions about paternity in Texas is meant to aid you but not to replace the role of an attorney. Define Paternity For Me? When a baby is born and there are questions about the father, you seek to establish paternity.  Paternity is, therefore, the legal identification of who the father of a child is.  This process is typically done through genetic matching of the child’s DNA to the father’s DNA. Is Paternity Testing Only Performed On Babies? While paternity testing is typically performed on babies it has been used to test kids of any age.  This helps to establish who the father is no matter what the situation is. Can You Force A Paternity Test? The short answer is yes, you can force a paternity test.  To do this you need to petition the court for a court ordered paternity test.  This order can also include conditions for what […]

Child support issues

Paying Child Support for Someone Else’s Child?

Michigan man Carnell Alexander owes the state $30k in child support for a child that is not his after his ex-girlfriend named him on state financial assistance forms in 1987. The state requires that a father be listed so that the state can track down the father to reimburse the state for the financial assistance.   Unfortunately for Alexander and other men in similar situations, the state does not require any proof to be provided when naming the father on forms. Instead, the responsibility is passed to the person named to then prove that they are not that person. The state sends a summons and the person named must appear at that time.   Many people are unaware of the importance of appearing in court when summoned. In cases regarding child support and paternity, failure to appear results in a default judgment and the person named is then legally responsible as the father.   Mr. Alexander, however, can prove that he never received the summons as he was in jail at the time. The process server delivered the letter to a relative instead of directly to him. The state also sent following letters to an address where he no longer […]

Child Support and Debtor's Prisons

Child Support and Debtor’s Prisons

A friend of mine asked me the other day which type of cases I found most emotionally draining. I had to think about it for a minute, but I eventually came to the conclusion that while termination cases can be heart wrenching at times, and divorces can be full of drama, it was my experiences in IV-D (Child support) court trying to defend against enforcement actions that often were the most DIFFICULT for me emotionally. The reason for this is twofold: First, there is the lack of defense. Believe it or not, I chose to be a lawyer because I want to help people with their problems, and finding defenses for clients defending against the state in child support actions basically amounts to begging for leniency most of the time. That is not to say that it isn’t successful, but the best defenses are somewhat based around the idea that sending people to jail rarely gathers more money, so therefore its best to leave people in the free so that they can work. The actual statutory defense of “inability to pay”, which is the actual reason 99 percent of people aren’t paying, is virtually impossible to prove as an affirmative defense […]

Statutory rape victim forced to pay child support

Forced Child Support for Rape Victims

The purpose of child support is to ensure that a child is taken care of. This is a social value that tracks from the idea that all children are inherently innocent (true) and thus deserve to be supported even if it creates hardships for the parents. However, some situations create results that are so egregious that this philosophy NEEDS to be altered. Take for example, the case of Nick Olivas. At the age of 14, he was statutorily raped by a 20 year old woman who later became pregnant and had his child. 10 years later at the age of 24, he was served with a lawsuit demanding child support for a daughter he had no idea even existed. There seem to be TONS of issues with this: First, is whether or not the state should be helping to enforce ADDITIONAL consequences on the victim of a sex crime. If that language sounds harsh, good, because that’s how I view the situation. A long time ago, in regards to women, we moved past the idea that it’s acceptable to force victims of sex crimes to deal with the consequences of the non-consensual pregnancy. It used to be the case that women could […]

Men owe child support despite not being fathers

I read an article today that estimated that more than 120,000 men paying child support for children that aren’t theirs. The article didn’t go into much detail regarding how that number was reached, but even if the true number were half that, it is still somewhat staggering. I have personally come across this enough times to think it probably isn’t that far off either. There are a number of different situations that can cause this, but the most common in my experience are when Mom will tell someone that they are currently romantically involved in that they are father and are the only person who could be the father. This person believes them and signs the birth certificate and/or a potential acknowledgement of paternity. Then, low and behold, they find out that Mom was sleeping with other people and begins to question paternity and/or gets a paternity test. It seems like the process should be simple at this point with how conclusive DNA testing. Simply show the evidence, get parental rights terminated, no more child support right? Not so fast! Unfortunately, almost nothing in the legal arena works simply, and this process least of all. First of all, pretty much everything in […]