Texas Paternity FAQ

Texas Paternity FAQ

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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 will happen if the paternity test comes back as a match.  Here are some of the conditions that might be attached: custody, visitation, child support, medical support, and/or legal support.

Who Can File For A Paternity Order or Case?

The following people can file for a paternity order or a paternity case:

  • The mother of the child in question
  • A man who believes he is the father
  • A man who is believed to be the father
  • The child (if of reasonable age)
  • The approved parent in a legal agreement
  • The legal custodian or guardian of the child
  • A government agency
  • An adoption agency

An important side note is that if the child is a legal adult (over the age of 17), then he is the only one besides a government agency that can file for a paternity order or case.

What Is Presumption of Paternity?

When two both the parents of a child are married at the time of birth, the paternity of that child is presumed to be the husband.  This is because in the majority of cases the husband is the father of the baby.  Presumed paternity may also be when the father voluntarily admits to paternity or the father was married to the mother within 300 days of the child’s birth.

Can You Take Back An Acknowledgment of Paternity?

You can take back an acknowledgment of paternity by rescinding it.  This can be done within 60 days of the acknowledgment of paternity being filed.  However, it must also happen before the court case about the child is initiated.

Who Can Help With A Paternity Order or Case?

A lawyer is typically the first person that you want to turn to when looking to perform a paternity case or order.  The lawyer will have the most time and legal knowledge to make sure that you get the best case.  However, you can also opt to contact the attorney general’s office to get help.  Lastly, and least recommended, you can decide to represent yourself for a paternity order or case.

Who is Part of A Paternity Case

A paternity case involves all applicable parties.  This includes all of the following people:

  • The mother of the child
  • Any and all alleged fathers
  • Presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated fathers
  • Someone who has been ordered by the court to be involved with the child

If a TANF is on file or the child has received Medicaid then the attorney general’s office will also need to be involved.

Where To File?

Typically you will file for your paternity order or case in the county that the child lives in.  If the child is not from Texas than you will file for paternity in the county that the respondent lives in.  Cases where the child doesn’t live in Texas can be more difficult and you should consult a lawyer before filing.

 

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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.

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