Justia Lawyer Rating
Justia Lawyer Rating
National Bar Association
Fort Bend County Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
United States District Court of Southern Texas
Texas Supreme Court
Avvo Reviews Badge
Texas Bar College
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Houston

How to Establish Paternity: A Complete Guide

How to Establish Paternity: A Complete GuidePaternity is an integral concept under the law in Texas that legally defines the father of a child. This determination is made not only to put the father into a position of responsibility regarding his offspring but also to allow him certain rights associated with being a parent. Establishing paternity may be done voluntarily through legal documents such as affidavits or court orders, and can be challenged if either parent disputes its validity.

Texas has established a Paternity Law in order to ensure that the rights of both children and parents are protected in cases where paternity is uncertain or contested. This law provides for procedures such as genetic testing, testimony from the parties involved, or other evidence to establish paternal relations between parent and child. All legal processes are designed to ensure fairness for all individuals involved and take into consideration factors such as presumed or alleged incestuous relations between parents.

Texas Law

Texas Family Code Chapter 160 establishes procedures to establish and recognize legal responsibility for a child, either through paternity or parentage. It sets out the rights and obligations of any potential father, guardian, stepparent, adoptive parent, or other related parties who may be called upon to provide care or financial support.

The importance of having paternity established is widely acknowledged as vital for ensuring that fathers are held responsible for providing emotional and financial support to their children. Fathers may also use this chapter to legitimize relationships that were not previously recognized by the courts and get their parental rights affirmed. The chapter also outlines the procedures for challenging paternity if there is a kind of dispute between parents concerning who is legally responsible for their child's support. Ultimately this chapter provides important protections and safeguards for everyone involved legally protecting those affected by establishing the legitimacy of parental rights and obligations as well as affirming relationships between parents and children affected in Texas.

Suits Regarding Paternity

Paternity suits are legal actions to establish or contest the father of a child. If a man is mistakenly identified as the father, they may seek to be excused from their paternal obligations such as child support payments. Alternatively, if there is no assumed father, the mother could pursue having the biological father legally affiliated with the child and be held accountable for his wellbeing.

In these situations, filing a paternity suit is necessary. The suit can give fathers legal recognition and rights over their children as well as legal obligation and responsibility (such as financially supporting their children). On the other hand, it could also allow an unfairly accused parent to successfully fight against paternity without having to bear the obligations associated with it. Ultimately, filing a paternity suit can provide much-needed resolution for involved parties when it comes to establishing or challenging the paternity of a child.

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is an important factor that helps legally identify the father of a child. Unresolved paternity can lead to a child being without resources such as financial and emotional support, medical insurance, and personal identity as well as decreased access to family health histories. Forms are included in order to provide an accurate and legally binding document if needed in certain cases. A child support proceeding will involve the legal establishment of the father’s identity which is then responsible for the financial support of the child. 

Can I alter my decision regarding paternity after initially denying or acknowledging it?

If you recently signed an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) or Denial of Paternity (DOP) form and have changed your mind, you may be able to rescind the form as long as it has been less than 60 days and no court cases regarding the child have been initiated. Texas Law Help provides contact information for a Rescission of Acknowledgement of Paternity form.

If more than 60 days have elapsed, or a legal dispute has been raised regarding the child in question, it is advised to petition the court for reversing the previous ruling on the Acceptance of Parentage (or Denial of Parentage) form. Supporting evidence must be presented for this process, and legal counsel should be sought before launching an appeal against their decision as it could be detrimental to all stakeholders.

Talk to a Lawyer

An experienced family law attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you explain and navigate the entire case process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

Client Reviews
Selecting an attorney can be one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make. In what seems like an overwhelming sea of attorneys who do you choose? Are they qualified, compassionate, and are they willing to fight for you without compromising their integrity? When faced with this decision in 2016 I received this and more when I retained Rahlita Thornton as my attorney. Since 2016 she has represented me on several court cases and I've never been disappointed. She is well versed and very knowledgeable on many aspects of the law. Attorney Thornton and her staff work diligently to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice is served. When I was crippled with fear, bullied, and felt like giving up she was my voice. She is highly recommend and I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. TTW
It was a divine power that drove me to call. There are ton of lawyers online but I knew this attorney was the one for me. C.B., Divorce Client
Attention & communication is very good when working with this professional legal team. They are here to help you whenever questions arise and explain details as they go. Thank you for taking the time to accept my case & working with me. P.L.