The Benefits Of Legal Fatherhood
Establishing paternity is important for more than just one reason. The legal father is responsible for providing for the child, including financial and emotional support. Also, if there are issues with child custody, visitation rights, and other matters, it may be necessary to legally establish paternity through DNA testing. At Adams Law Firm, our Katy paternity lawyers have been helping clients with paternity and other family law matters since 1977. Our small but prestigious firm’s lawyers have an AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, a nationwide service that rates lawyers based on their services. This recognition is the result of our dedication and effectiveness when it comes to handling family law issues.
Need To Establish Paternity?
Legally, the term paternity refers to that person who is recognized as the legal father of a child. At the time of a child’s birth, it’s usual for the husband of the mother to be recognized as the father. Further, the biological validity is usually the dominant factor in determining who the father is. If there is a question, a DNA test can be conducted that will conclusively confirm paternity.
Paternity is important if the parents divorce or dissolve their relationship, and the father is expected to provide child support but is not certain he is the actual parent. Also, the father usually has visiting rights or child custody, so knowing who the biological father is may become important. In these instances, the recognized father would have the right to affect certain decisions regarding his child, such as education, religion, and other important issues.
How To Establish Paternity in Texas
There are a number of ways to establish legal paternity in the state of Texas. First, it’s important to know that paternity may be established in a voluntarily or involuntarily manner.
If both parents are in agreement about the identity of the biological father of the child, then paternity can be established voluntarily. This is by far the most common and simplest way to legally verify the father of the child.
If the parents agree to sign an official Acknowledgement of Paternity in the hospital immediately following the birth of the child, the form is sent to the state capitol in Austin to be permanently added to their collection of records. This process can also be accomplished in the days after the child is born since the form can be sent by mail. But if the birth certificate has already been sent out by the hospital without the father’s signature on it, the parents will need to pay a fee to alter the official birth certificate.
Once the Acknowledgement of Paternity is filled out, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate of the child, thus establishing legal paternity in the state of Texas. The official Acknowledgement of Paternity form is available at a number of places in Texas:
- The Hospital – Every Texas hospital is equipped with the proper paperwork to be completed immediately following the birth of a child. You may not be able to obtain these documents after the mother and child are discharged in the following days.
- The Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division – 2101 E Saint Elmo Road Building 2 Suite 225 Austin, TX 78744 (800) 252-8014
- The Texas Vital Statistics Office – 1100 W 49th Street Austin, TX 78756 (512) 776-7111
Establishing paternity in an involuntary manner is not the usual method and therefore comes with a number of challenges to navigate. The varying circumstances that led to an involuntary establishment of paternity play a role in what makes it difficult to obtain. Involuntary establishment usually requires an appearance in court before it’s decided.
There are a number of individuals or entities who can dispute the paternity of a child after birth. They include the father, the mother, the state which may be providing public financial assistance, or the child once they are of age.
The process is initiated once one of the parties files a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage in the United States. If the suspected father in the case fails to appear before the court after being notified of the proceedings, the judge has the right to enter a default order, which officially declares that individual the legal father of the child. If the father does appear in court, and both parents are in agreement that he is the biological father of the child in question, the judge will also immediately adjudicate the parentage in that case.
If any party involved, whether it be the mother or potential father of the child, disputes or displays uncertainty about the paternity, the judge may order a DNA test. This test will require the mother, father, and child in question to submit a sample to be analyzed.
Depending on where the sample is sent, a paternal DNA test could take anywhere from two days to one week to process the same and send official results back. Once the results are in, if the judge determines the man tested is the biological father of the child, they will adjudicate parentage, and the father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. This is also where the judge may issue a child support, custody, or visitation order.
It’s vital to have appropriate representation during paternity and court proceedings. Don’t try to go it alone with an attorney can advocate for your rights. The Katy paternity lawyers at Adams Law Firm stand ready and willing to assist you during one even the most changeling and emotional times.
Why Do I Need a Paternity Lawyer?
Time is of the essence when it comes to paternity cases. You want to be on top of your case at all times, which can prove to be extremely difficult if you don’t have the proper knowledge or resources. Hiring an experienced and caring paternity lawyer from Adams Law Firm could change your life as well as your child’s life for the better.
Once you have established paternity in a case, you’ll need to consider your child support, visitation, and custody rights as a parent. The official court orders regarding your child’s custody will have a huge impact on your child’s and your own life. The orders can affect their health benefits. Your child will also have invaluable knowledge of their paternal father with the attendant emotional and financial benefits.
In the event you attempt to challenge the paternity of a child, having a seasoned lawyer with your best interests in mind is vital. Challenging paternity in Texas courts can be incredibly daunting and complex. The court will likely require evidence including affidavits and official forms to serve as proof of parenthood in your case. Our attorneys have the skills and knowledge to know how to acquire the proper forms and provide concrete evidence to serve your interests.
Emotions inevitably play a huge role in paternity cases. Whether it be personal disputes between the parents or simply the incredible pressure that comes along with being a new father or mother, there’s a lot to think about.
Texas judges don’t care about petty personal disputes when they decide paternity cases. Their job is to focus solely on the facts of the case and the interests of the child involved. That’s why hiring an attorney who will calmly and strategically represent you in front of the judge will prove to the court that you are serious about the repercussions of your case. Our attorneys will focus only on the pertinent details in order to get the best results possible once your case goes to court.
Professional Legal Assistance with Paternity in Katy
A qualified attorney with Adams Law Firm can help you through the sometimes complex issues of paternity. Paternity might be contested, for example, in the case where the presumed father believed he was the biological parent but found out he wasn’t, and now wants to terminate his parental rights. Child support orders could be levied at the non-biological father when paternity has not been established.
In custody issues, the biological father is usually entitled to at least visiting times with the child. These and many other elements can become big issues, and we are here to advise and guide you through the process. Where children are involved in family issues, the best interests of the child are paramount. Our experience of over 35 years in family law gives us the depth of understanding needed to bring about favorable results. Contact our firm today if you have questions about paternity issues or other family law matters.