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What Fathers Need to Know About Paternity Suits in Texas

What Fathers Need to Know About Paternity Suits in TexasWhen it comes to establishing paternity in Texas, the process can become complicated and lengthy. It is important for parents involved in a potential paternity suit to fully understand their rights as well as what legal steps must be taken. The first step in a Texas paternity case is typically a DNA test which can be administered at certain hospitals or clinics or ordered through the court system. This test will establish whether or not someone is the biological father of the child in question.

Once the results are confirmed and the suit has been legally established based on those results, parents may then determine child Support orders if applicable and/or come to an agreement about visitation rights. The courts also have jurisdiction to decide custodial care, joint custody, limits on out-of-state travel with children, educational decisions, and other matters related to the best interests of children when paternity has been legally established.

What Is a Paternity Suit?

A paternity suit is a legal action used to determine who the legal biological parent of a child is. The parties involved in a paternity suit may be the mother, the father, and sometimes other family members. In order for a paternity case to move forward, genetic testing must be done to prove that a person biologically fathered or mothered the child in question.

In most cases, paternity suits are performed when the father does not want to take responsibility for a child he believes could be his own or simply wishes to have it confirmed that he is the biological father. Additionally, some individuals may seek to establish an official biological relationship between parent and child in inheritance disputes or child support payments. Whatever reasons an individual may have for wanting to determine paternity, they can do so by filing paternity against an alleged parent. This process can include collecting evidence via genetic testing and court hearings with possible testimony from witnesses who are familiar with the situation. Those wishing to file such notices should familiarize themselves with local laws as procedures vary by jurisdiction.

Paternity Suits May Be Enacted in Certain Circumstances

A paternity suit is a type of civil lawsuit that seeks to determine the biological father or mother of a child. Under normal circumstances, such as when both parties agree to and voluntarily establish parentage through a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, no litigation is necessary. However, situations may arise where the parents disagree about paternity, or one party is uncooperative when it comes to establishing parentage outside the court process. In such cases, one parent may choose to bring a paternity lawsuit in order to establish legal recognition for the other parent's rights and obligations over the child.

In addition to establishing parentage, an initial finding through a paternity suit may also lead to decisions concerning custody and visitation rights, responsibility for health care costs, the establishment of child support orders, determination of inheritance rights for any affected children, or even eligibility for certain entitlement programs related to health care or other services provided by law. All parties involved must present physical and genetic evidence relevant to determining paternity on behalf of their case before they will come to a judge’s decision regarding which party should legally have parental authority over the child in question. It is important for those facing a possible paternity lawsuit evaluation to consult with an appropriate professional attorney before proceeding with proceedings.

What Is the Outcome of Filing a Paternity Suit?

When a paternity suit is filed, the court will first consider whether the parties involved agree on parentage or not. If both parties agree that the man listed is the biological father of the child in question, then it becomes much easier to establish paternity without going through court proceedings. The court may still request a DNA sample from both parties for confirmation prior to granting any parenting rights to the father, but this action is generally just taken as a precaution.

However, if either party disagrees over the parentage of the child, then the courts must take more steps to determine paternity. Typically, both parties involved must attend a hearing and provide evidence such as prior relationships to any other potential fathers or witnesses that can speak on behalf of either side. In addition, blood tests are almost always ordered by a judge in these cases in order to determine with certainty who is indeed the biological father of the child. If found guilty, then legal rights and responsibilities concerning the care and support of that child are established for that individual accordingly.

When Is a Voluntary Paternity Action Brought?

When it comes to establishing paternity, parents have some choices. One of those options is to file a voluntary paternity (parentage) suit. This type of suit is used when one parent acknowledges that he/she is the biological parent of a child and the parents are not married. By filing this suit, both parties agree that the acknowledged father is the legal parent of the child and both can receive parental obligations related to that status.

Paternity suits are typically filed in family courts throughout Texas. The process can be initiated by either party or by a third individual such as an attorney representing a minor. Additionally, parents may opt to fill out an Acknowledgement of Paternity form which legally recognizes their paternity without the need for court proceedings.

Paternity can be established through a legal process, which allows fathers to assume their parental rights and obligations such as visitation rights, guardianship, and financial support until the child turns 18. If you want to learn more about your parental rights or need help with paternity establishment, there are various family lawyers in Texas that may assist you.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Texas

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.

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