The natural father of a young 15-year-old girl who committed suicide attempted to be included in a lawsuit against those who may have contributed to her death. The judge ruled against him. In Texas, as in the rest of the United States, being the natural parent does not mean automatic paternity is proven.
To summarize the lawsuit, which was filed by the young girl’s mother and stepfather, it is a wrongful death suit against the parents of three boys and one girl. The suit maintains that the boys contributed to the state of mind their daughter was in when she committed suicide due to actions taken at a party they all attended.
At the 2012 party, the young girl drank alcohol and passed out in one of the bedrooms of the house where the party was held. Three of the boys took some of her clothing off, drew pictures on her body and allegedly sexually assaulted her.
The girl involved in the alleged assault observed what happened and lied to the sheriff’s officers who were investigating the suicide.
The girl’s natural father cited probate case law and evidence that he is her biological father to file a lawsuit. He was not trying to prove paternity but wanted to have his lawsuit consolidated with the one filed by mother and stepfather of the girl. Unfortunately for him, in 2005 a family court judge ruled that he did have parental rights or paternity. This led to the latest court ruling to go against him as well.
The man was allowed to present his case and cited some other legal decisions that were much like his that granted paternity to biological fathers. He has stated that he will appeal the decision. He feels that judges should not be the ones who decide who a child belongs to.
In Texas, it is necessary that a child live with the parent trying to prove paternity for the first two years of the child’s life. The man failed to do this.
If you face a paternity suit, get the answers you need before you try to handle the situation yourself. A professional can guide you and may be able to give you advice on how to prove paternity.
Source: NBC Bay Area, “Judge tentatively rules against man seeking to join Audrie Pott lawsuit as biological father” No author given, Jun. 19, 2014