Under Texas law, the presumption of fatherhood is very strong, and it will favorably impact the claim of a father upon his children. In the absence of this presumption, serious barriers could arise for a father to assert his paternity rights. The presumption of fatherhood will enable a father to assert his right to be involved in the raising of his children as he deems fit.
Paternity can be a highly sensitive matter for both parties in a divorce. Make sure you have chosen a knowledgeable and skilled Austin divorce attorney to protect you and your children’s rights if paternity is a contentious issue in your divorce.
Acknowledgment of Paternity
Paternity in Texas can be established either voluntarily or involuntary (which requires a court order). For the voluntary establishment of paternity, both parents should agree that the father is actually the biological father, and they should both sign an “Acknowledgement of Paternity.” This is usually done at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth.
Once this Acknowledgement of Paternity has been duly signed and filed with the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin, it is established that the father is the legal father and his name will get added to the birth certificate of the child.
In case the paternity must be established involuntarily, it will involve a court proceeding after which the court will issue an order adjudicating parentage. In either situation, it helps to have an Austin divorce lawyer by your side who can ensure that your goals in a paternity case are met to your best satisfaction.
When is a Man Presumed to be a Child’s Father Under the Law?
The Texas Family Code says that it will be presumed that a man is a child’s father irrespective of DNA testing under the following conditions:
- If the child is born during the course of the marriage
- If the child is born within 300 days following the end of marriage through divorce, invalidity, annulment, or death
- If prior to the child’s birth the man is married to the child’s mother in “apparent compliance with the law”
- If after the child’s birth the man married the child’s mother in apparent compliance with the law and asserted his paternity voluntarily by one of the following means:
- An assertion was made in the records that were filed with the Vital Statistics Unit
- The man has been named the child’s father voluntarily on the birth certificate of the child
- The man has promised in a record that he will support the raising of the child as his own occurrence
- In the first two years after the child’s birth, the man has resided in the same household with the child, and has also represented before other people that the child is his own.
The presumption of fatherhood is supported by these above-listed conditions, and as long as one of these is fulfilled, the paternity may be established in Texas without actually filing a paternity lawsuit.
Choose an Experienced Paternity Lawyer in Austin
Finding a tough Austin family law attorney who is willing to dig in and battle for you should be a top priority. You will know if you are in for a battle, and entering that battle without a strong family law firm behind you could be a big mistake.
The Law Office of Willie & Dasher, established in Austin in 1984, has the ability and the experience to pursue a winning strategy for your divorce and family matters. To request a consultation, call 512-478-0834 or complete our online contact form.