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The why and how of establishing paternity

Unmarried dads in Texas may find themselves scratching their heads about the process of establishing paternity. They may also have more questions than they know how to find answers to and wonder whether they should even bother to assume legal responsibility for their children. These questions are not uncommon.

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.

According to the law, which father are you?

Texas dads should know being a father is one of the most honorable roles a man can have, but doing the job well is not easy. All relationships take effort from both parties, of course, and parenting is no exception. Whether or not you have married your child's mother, you have to learn how to manage life with her, how to prioritize your little one and how to be a role model for him or her. 

What is the legal definition of a father?

Although we understand in general terms how a father is defined, sometimes we may not understand how the law defines a person as a father. For the purposes of Texas law, a father may be defined in a number of ways. Sometimes, depending on the legal classification of father, a person may possess different rights under the law. In such cases, it is important to understand how a father is defined.

Can you protest paternity?

In Texas, paternity is automatic if you are married to the child's mother when he or she is born or within a certain time before birth. Because of this, you may find yourself in a situation where you are legally presumed to be the father of a child who is not actually yours. The same thing could happen if a mother claims you are the father of her child. If you are considered the legal father, it makes you responsible for that child. 

Understanding paternity fraud

If you believe you are the father of a Texas child and you later find out that you are not, in fact, a biological family member, you may understandably feel devastated, misled and angry. Regrettably, paternity fraud, or the misidentification of you as a child’s father when you are, in fact, not, happens more often than you might think, and it can have considerable effects on you as well as the child. At the Law Office of Brian Turner, we understand just how upsetting being a victim of paternity fraud can be, and we have assisted many fathers who found their lives turned upside-down following misidentification as a biological parent.

The importance of establishing paternity

At the Law Office of Brian Turner, we believe that fathers and their children deserve to have rights to each other. The Office of the Texas Attorney General reminds parents, however, that while children born in Texas to married couples have established legal rights with their fathers, children born to unmarried couples do not. In other words, your child has no legal father if you are not married to his or her mother at the time of birth. If you establish paternity, you can cure this situation.

Tips for your paternity case

If you are going through a divorce in Texas, one of the most complicated aspects can be the division of responsibility for your children. In many cases, a judge will require you to undergo paternity testing to prove that you are the father of your children and entitled to some level of custody over them. We at the Law Office of Brian Turner can represent your rights during a court case and offer any assitance if you need help proving that you are the father.  

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