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Bryan Texas Family Law Blog

What is paternity fraud?

As a Texas man, no one need tell you that while it is easy to determine a baby’s biological mother, the same is not true for a baby’s biological father. For instance, if you are married to the mother at the time the baby is born, the State of Texas presumes that you are the child’s father and your name goes on his or her birth certificate as the father, whether you actually fathered the baby or not. Likewise, if you and the child’s mother are not married to each other, but you both sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity, you become the baby’s legal father, whether or not you actually fathered him or her.

VeryWellFamily.com points out that paternity fraud occurs when a mother misattributes her baby’s paternity to you. If she does so mistakenly, this is not fraud as that word normally is understood. If she does so deliberately, however, knowing that the baby’s father is someone other than you, then it is fraud. Unfortunately, however, neither Texas nor any other state considers paternity fraud a punishable crime. In fact, a woman faces no consequences whatsoever for mistakenly or deliberately naming the wrong father.

What are the spousal maintenance laws in Texas?

Like most fathers, you probably have no problem paying child support. Even if the amount is high, you understand its need and are happy to provide for your children.

However, you probably do not feel the same way about alimony, or spousal maintenance. You may not have to worry about it, though, as Texas has strict requirements for qualification.

Are the powerful effects of shared parenting worth the risk?

Many divorcees may find it difficult to encourage kids to maintain a strong relationship with the other parent. After all, conflict between the two of you is most likely what got you in this situation in the first place. However, studies show solid bonds with both mom and dad give children in Texas the best chance at staying emotionally healthy in spite of a difficult home life. 

The Business Insider provides insight into this topic with the results of a study its reporters conducted. The study's author delves into his own background initially, pointing out when his kids - products of a divorce - were young, the prevailing thought was children needed to remain with their moms the majority of the time, and dads played second fiddle. This may be an easy idea for you to embrace, too.

Modifying your Texas child support order

If you are a Texas father and you currently have a child support arrangement in place with your former partner, a time may come when you wish to modify that arrangement in accordance with changing needs. Maybe your custody situation has changed, or maybe you no longer have the job you had when the order came into effect. Regardless of your reasoning for wanting a modification, there are certain steps you must take to change the amount of child support you must pay. At the Law Office of Brian Turner, we have a comprehensive understanding of the Texas child support modification process, and we have helped many clients pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to the Texas Attorney General, in order to modify the amount of child support you pay, your situation must first meet certain circumstances. First, at least three years must have passed since the order initially took effect, and second, there must have been a “material and substantial” change in circumstances in the time since the order took effect.

Answers to commonly asked questions about paternity

Looking up "paternity" in the dictionary offers no surprises. According to Cambridge, it is "the fact or state of being a father." Anyone in Texas who is, in fact, a father will know there is a lot more to it than the dictionary writer indicated.

New dads may have a lot of questions about the legality of their role, especially if they are not married to the baby's mom. The Texas Attorney General has provided a list of frequently asked questions to help men who find themselves in this situation. 

How is child support calculated in Texas?

If you are a Texas father and you and your child’s mother are no longer together romantically, you may be working toward a child support arrangement with your former partner. Regardless of whether you are on the giving or receiving end of a child support arrangement, you may be wondering how much you can expect to have to pay or receive, and in Texas, the answer is usually relatively straightforward.

Per the Texas Attorney General, the first step in formalizing a child support arrangement in Texas involves applying for child support services via the attorney general website. Next, you and your former partner will need to attend a negotiation conference to attempt to work through such matters, and if you are unable to agree on terms, the court will ultimately set them on your behalf.

What rights do unmarried fathers have?

As an unmarried father in Texas, you may wonder what rights you have to your child. The law is not always on your side. In fact, unmarried fathers often have few rights until they establish paternity, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

When you are not married to the mother of your child, you are not automatically assumed to be the father. You have to establish paternity to gain any rights to your child. If your name is put on the birth certificate, then that can be enough. Otherwise, this means signing a voluntary statement along with the child's mother or taking a DNA test and having the court rule on paternity.

3 reasons to mediate child custody instead of going to court

When you start the divorce process, custody may be the issue you have the most concerns about. You love your children and want to be part of their lives, but so does the mother. It may seem like an impossible feat to come to a custody or visitation agreement.

However, you may be able to reach a resolution much easier than you assume. Here is how you may able to resolve custody issues through mediation instead of going to court.

When your child’s mother is a substance abuser

If you live in Texas and are co-parenting with someone who has an alcohol or substance abuse problem, you may have valid concerns about your former partner’s ability to care for your shared child. At the Law Office of Brian Turner, we understand how upsetting it can be to watch your child struggle with a substance-abusing parent, and we have helped many clients facing similar situations find solutions that meet their needs.

Per Livestrong.com, if your child’s mother is abusing drugs or alcohol, it may impact her ability to have custody or visitation with your son or daughter. In severe situations, it may even mean a loss of her parental rights. If you have reason to believe your child’s mom is abusing drugs or alcohol and that your child may be at risk because of it, notify the court. Typically, courts make custody decisions based on what is in the best interest of your child, and in most cases, a substance-abusing parent does not make the grade.

Can I still claim my alimony deduction?

If you are like most Texans, you have already filed your federal income tax return for 2017 and may even have received your refund. If you pay spousal support a/k/a alimony to your ex-spouse, you undoubtedly deducted those payments just like always. You may be wondering, however, if you can continue to do so in the future.

When Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and President Trump signed it into law last December, that ended the alimony deduction for alimony payors. It also ended the necessity for alimony-receiving ex-spouses to declare their payments as income and pay tax on them. However, as MarketWatch reported, these new tax laws do not apply to everyone

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