Dallas Attorney Helping Parents Establish Legal Paternity

In many family law cases, the people involved will need to address issues related to their legal relationships with each other, including legal partnerships between married spouses or parents’ rights and responsibilities toward their children. However, there are some situations where these relationships will need to be legally established before other issues can be addressed. In cases where a person has not been recognized as a child’s legal parent, establishing paternity will protect their parental rights, as well as a child’s right to receive financial support and other benefits.

Dallas Paternity Lawyer

Family Law Attorney addressing paternity and related legal issues

When addressing paternity and related legal issues, the parties involved in these cases can protect their rights and make sure they are taking the correct steps to resolve these matters effectively by working with an experienced family law attorney. At Clark Law Group, we help our clients understand the laws that affect them and their children and the ways they can make sure both of a child’s biological parents will be involved in the child’s life. In addition to helping mothers take action to establish paternity and ensure that their child will receive the proper financial support, we also help address fathers’ rights, ensuring that they will be able to maintain relationships with their children.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Texas law states that a man will be presumed to be a child’s legal father in the following situations:

  • He is married to the child’s mother when the child is born.
  • He was previously married to the child’s mother, and the child was born no more than 300 days after the termination of the marriage due to divorce, annulment, or a declaration that the marriage was invalid.
  • He continuously lived in the same household as the child for at least two years after the child was born and represented himself as the child’s parent to other people.

When a man is considered to be a child’s legal father, he will have all the rights and duties of a parent. He may share in child custody, and if he is named as a joint managing conservator, he will be able to work together with the child’s mother to make decisions about how the child will be raised. These decisions may address issues such as where the child will attend school and the types of medical care that will be provided. A father will also have the right to regular visitation time with the child.

In addition to maintaining a relationship with the father, a child can benefit from paternity in other ways. The father will have the obligation to provide child support that will address the child’s ongoing needs. When providing medical care, doctors will be able to access family medical history for both parents. A child will also have the right to receive an inheritance from the father, and they may be able to receive different types of benefits through both parents, including health insurance coverage, veteran’s benefits, and Social Security benefits.

No, there is no statute of limitations that applies in paternity cases in Texas. As a result, people can bring paternity suits even after the child in question has grown into an adult.

Time limits for establishing paternity only apply in situations where a child already has a presumed father who is someone other than the person named in the paternity suit. In these cases, the person looking to bring the paternity suit must do so within four years after the child’s birth.

In Texas, paternity will usually be established using a genetic test, which may be ordered by the court that hears a paternity suit. This test consists of a simple cheek swab of the purported father, the child in question, and, in some cases, the child’s mother. The DNA of the child and both parents will be analyzed to determine whether there is a genetic relationship between the man and the child.

Establishing paternity is very important in Texas, as doing so affords the father the rights and duties of a parent. Once paternity is established, the parents may create a child custody agreement that will allow the father to participate in decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, and other important issues that will affect the child’s life. The father may also have the right to have possession and access of the child (visitation) on a regular basis.

To dispute paternity in Texas, a presumed father may file a Denial of Paternity form with the local family court. Evidence showing that the man is not the child’s father may need to be provided, which may include medical records, DNA test results, or any other relevant documentation. The court may then hold a hearing to review this evidence and determine who should be named the child’s legal parent.

Despite popular belief, a man will not be automatically considered a child’s father simply because his name is on the child’s birth certificate. In cases where the couple is not married or where someone other than a presumed father is the child’s actual father, the parents will need to sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity to establish a legal relationship between the father and child. If either parent is unwilling to do so, a paternity suit will need to be filed in court.

Contact Our Dallas Paternity Attorney

Our firm can help you address any paternity issues that your family may encounter. We work to help mothers establish paternity and receive child support, and we also help fathers take action to establish legal relationships with their children or challenge claims of paternity. Contact our office today at 469-906-2266 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your concerns. We assist with paternity and related matters in Grand Prairie, Coppell, Highland Park, Fort Worth, Carrollton, North Dallas, Dallas County, Lakewood, Irving, Collin County, Park Cities, Valley Ranch, Plano, Dallas, Mesquite, Garland, University Park, McKinney, Farmers Branch, Preston Hollow, Denton County, and Lake Highland.

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