What is paternity?
Paternity is the legal identification of a child's father. Once paternity has been established the child's genetic father becomes their legal father and therefor has all the rights and duties of a parent.
How is paternity established in Texas?
There are three (3) ways that paternity can be established. The three (3) ways are: by presumption, by voluntary acknowledgement, or by court order.
What is an acknowledgement of paternity?
This is a form that is used to establish paternity of the child that is signed by the mother of the child as well as the genetic father. This form must be filed with the Texas Vital Statistic Unit to be valid.
The child hasn't been born yet, can I file a paternity case anyway?
Yes, you are permitted to file a paternity case prior to the birth of the child. However, the case will not be finalized until after the child is born.
May I ask the Court to order genetic testing in a paternity case?
In Texas this can be achieved by filing a motion for genetic testing. You will want to do this right away if you are unsure who the father of your child is.
Is a court order required to get genetic testing completed for paternity cases?
No, a court order is not required if both parties agree to submit to the genetic testing. The genetic testing can be arranged to be completed at an accredited lab.
Who is required to pay for genetic testing?
Typically the person requesting the genetic testing is the person who pays for it. If paternity case has been filed by the Attorney General's Office there may not be a charge for genetic testing.
What is a paternity registry?
If a man believes that he is a child's father and would like to be notified of a legal proceeding that has been filed to end his parental rights or place the child up for adoption he can registry with the paternity registry and will received notice of such proceedings. However, he must register within the specified time frames.
To register with the paternity registry it should be done before the child is born or within thirty (30) days after birth.
Can my parental rights be terminated without me knowing?
Yes, i you fail to register with the paternity registry before the child turns thirty (30) days old or you haven't started a legal proceeding to determine parentage before your rights have been terminated.
The child was conceived in one state and born in another, do I need to register with the paternity registry in both states?
You should register with the paternity registry in both states.
I registered with the paternity registry but have since found out that I am not the father, can I de-register?
Yes, you can rescind your registration. To do so you send a written statement to the paternity registry that is in compliance with their requirements. If you have additional questions please feel free to contact the AuClair Law Firm.
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