Establishing paternity is often the first step for many men who wish to remain a part of their child’s life. Currently, Texas laws do not extend legal rights or responsibilities to unmarried fathers where paternity has not yet been determined.
This seems somewhat unfair because Texas automatically recognizes the married father of a child as one of the child’s legal parents. Thankfully, there are two primary methods in which an unmarried father can establish his paternity. The first way that can be accomplished is if both parents sign a legal document known as an Acknowledgment of Paternity. The second method involves getting a court to decide.
Courts generally like to have solid facts as evidence in paternity cases. That’s why genetic testing that examines the father’s DNA and compares it with the child’s DNA is so important. In fact, genetic testing has now become the standard method of establishing paternity used by the Texas Office of the Attorney General.
If you are in unmarried father who is looking to remain actively involved in your child’s upbringing, there are a couple of things you should know. You are entitled to retain a Texas family law attorney to assist you in your pursuit of child custody and visitation rights. Additionally, you should also know that genetic testing can also hold secondary benefits for your child. DNA testing often reveals potentially life-threatening hereditary diseases or disorders that might have been passed down to your child.
For over 20 years, our Houston-based family law firm has been providing legal representation for clients throughout the Houston-Metro area. There is no charge for our client’s initial consultations regarding father’s rights. Our law firm is also available by request during evening or weekend hours for our clients’ convenience.