What to Keep in Mind With a Texas Paternity Suit
When discussing Texas paternity suits, it's important to understand the process of legitimizing a parent-child relationship through the court system in Texas. The father and mother of a child can come to an agreement for paternity without going to court. Some situations may require that a judge determines paternity and a DNA test may be ordered as part of the process. In Texas, either parent can initiate a paternity action by filing an Original Petition to Establish Paternity with their local family district court. The other parent must respond within forty days, or they will be found in default.
Once paternity is established, both parents will have legal rights and responsibilities over their child, including any custody dispute that might arise. They will also have corresponding financial obligations such as child support payments and medical insurance coverage. Establishing paternity allows children to claim certain benefits such as social security benefits or inheritance rights after their father passes away. It also provides children with access to accurate medical history information from both parents which can prove vital for serious health issues down the line.What Is a Paternity Suit?
A paternity suit is a legal proceeding that can be brought to court in order to determine the biological father of a child. The primary goal of these suits is to establish paternity or legal proof that an individual was the biological parent of a certain child. Generally, genetic testing such as DNA testing is used to establish the relationship between a man and a child. This allows for an individual to gain parental rights and responsibility, such as access through visitation or the right to make important decisions on behalf of their children.
Paternity suits are brought up in many circumstances including when parents are not married and want to be recognized within a legal capacity with regards to their parental rights, when unmarried men want to prove they are not financially responsible for a child through genetic testing, or if there is a dispute regarding custody and visitation rights among parties whose genetic connection has yet to be established formally in court. Paternity suits are particularly complex due to bureaucratic hurdles and processes which must be followed before results or rulings will be legally binding. Often times this includes filing paperwork with courts, engaging with lawyers in both civil and family law matters, validating evidence from third parties such as genetic testing professionals, and issuing subpoenas for records when necessary.A Paternity Suit Is Filed When One Party Contests the Biological Parentage of a Child.
A paternity suit is filed in the event that a child’s biological father or mother cannot be determined. Often, these cases are brought to the courts when one parent has refused to acknowledge his or her role in the child’s life and is resistant to providing genetic testing or other forms of proof. In this situation, the plaintiff—which can be either the mother or father — must then pursue legal action in order to officially determine paternity and ensure that both parents will have access to their rights as parents of the child.
In other cases, paternity suits can be initiated if a father was married when he impregnated another woman. The married couple may file jointly against the third individual in order to determine who holds parental rights over the child conceived during their marriage. It is important to note that, aside from proving blood relation, physical evidence and documents related to finances can also be used as tools during these proceedings. All of this evidence is then weighed carefully by relevant parties and evaluated with regard to what would most benefit any child involved in these proceedings.What Is the Qualification to File a Paternity Suit?
When a child is born, the legal responsibility of being a parent typically falls on both the mother and father. To establish this legal relationship, one may have to file a paternity suit. Generally, the mother, the man claiming to be the father, the child (either individually or through a representative), or even governmental agencies may file a paternity suit.
The primary motivation for mothers and government agencies to go through this process is to receive child support payments from their paternal counterparts. For fathers, establishing parenthood can bring about new opportunities for rights such as visitation with the child and depending on location even shared parenting time. On the other hand, seeking paternity can also benefit children by providing more stability in their lives; having an established father figure could give them an alternative source of emotional and financial support as well as legal protection against situations such as medical care that requires parental consent.When Is it Permissible to Pursue a Paternity Suit?
In Texas, a paternity suit can be brought at any time if the child does not already have a presumed father. This doesn't have to be done within a certain timeline and even adults can file for paternity in such cases. However, if the child already has a presumed father, then the paternity suit should be filed within four years of the child's birth in order for it to be legally actionable. There are some exceptions to this rule, however, and those involve matters such as fraud or duress that could call the predetermined paternal status into question.
An example of when fraud or duress comes into play is when two people believe they are married but one of them never actually provided proof of marriage to the court (either through a formal ceremony or license). In such cases, paternity suits could potentially be brought at any time since marriage would automatically confer rights to both parties involved. It is important that parents understand their rights in terms of filing for paternity so that they can make sure justice is served regarding their child’s rights and entitlements appropriately.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.