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The Foray Firm

Katy, Texas Paternity Lawyer

Fort Bend County Paternity Lawyer

Fort Bend County Attorney Explains How to Establish Parentage for an Unmarried Father 

Contrary to popular belief, when a child is born to unmarried parents, simply putting a man's name on the birth certificate is not sufficient to legally establish his rights and obligations as a father.

If an unwed father wishes to exercise his full rights as a parent under the law, he must complete a specific legal process to establish paternity.

Similarly, if an unwed mother wants to obtain court-ordered and fully enforceable child support or other benefits for a child, such as health insurance and inheritance rights, she must follow specific legal procedures to establish paternity.

Aside from the situation of unwed parents, there are other times when a special legal process may be necessary to establish a legal parent-child relationship. Texas, along with all other states, has enacted the Uniform Parentage Act. This statute encompasses all modern varieties of parentage, including cases involving assisted reproduction or gestational surrogacy where the biological parent(s) are different from the intended parent(s).

At The Foray Firm, we agree with the Texas court that stated, "Children should be secure in knowing who their parents are." We are happy to assist both mothers and fathers with the establishment of paternity.

Once paternity is established, we can further assist you with legal proceedings related to child support, conservatorship, aka custody and visitation, and relocation.

Having practiced family law for over a decade, we are prepared to handle the most complex parent-child legal issues, including cases involving same-sex parents, LGBTQ families, and cases complicated by multiple relationships. You can rely on us to secure your rights and the rights of your children.

How to Establish Paternity in Texas

The Foray Firm has extensive experience in helping parents of all types to solidify their legal relationship with their child. Texas law provides several routes to establish paternity:

Presumption of paternity: A man is presumed to be a child's father if any of the following are true:

  • He was married to the child's mother at the time she gave birth to the child.
  • He was married to the child's mother, and the child was born within 300 days of the marriage's end.
  • He married the child's mother after the birth and asserted that he was the father in a record filed with the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • For the first two years of the child's life, he continuously resided in the same household as the child and represented himself to others as the child's father.

Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity requires an unmarried mother and father together to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form and file it with the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics. This can either be done at the hospital when the baby is born or at any time before or after the birth. Signing this document has the same effect as a court order.

Adjudicated paternity through a family court is necessary when either the mother or father is unwilling or unable to voluntarily acknowledge paternity.

Any interested party can file a proceeding to adjudicate parentage, including the child, the mother, the father whose paternity is being determined, a mother's parents if the mother is deceased, an intended parent under a gestational agreement, or an authorized agency. The court can order genetic DNA testing to prove parentage.

Fort Bend County Paternity Lawyers

The attorneys of The Foray Firm are dedicated to providing reliable legal representation to families of all races, ethnicities, and genders. Contact us in our Houston, TX office at 832-919-6400. We serve clients throughout the Houston area and Fort Bend County, including the communities of Fulshear, Katy, Richmond, and Sugar Land, and in Waller County and Harris County.

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