Our team of Houston family law attorneys, here at Skillern Firm, are dedicated to fighting for the rights of fathers and their children. Fathers deserve a fair outcome in family law issues such as child custody battles, child support, and spousal support, and we won’t rest until we are happy you have received this fair and reasonable treatment..
If you are concerned about paternity, then things can become even more complex, and we recommend you seek a Texas family law attorney to represent and guide you, whilst protecting your rights.
Skillern Firm puts the needs of the children first in all matters, which often means fighting to ensure that parents stay present in their lives.
Using our knowledge of the law, and our skills in mediation and litigation, we will advocate on your half and do everything possible to secure the future you desire.
Call our law office today at (936) 213-8479 to speak to one of our divorce attorneys!
What Does Paternity Mean in Texas?
Patternity can be a highly contentious family law matter; whether you want to be the established father, or you don’t believe that you are the father, you need high-quality representation.
Paternity simply means fatherhood. However, in law “establishing paternity” means determining who the legal father is. The legal father will have rights and obligations in the children’s lives.
While every child has a biological father, not every child has a legal father. If a man is married to the child’s mother when the child is born, then they are the presumed father and their name will automatically be added to the birth certificate, making them the legal father.
However, if the parents are not married when a child is born, then the child will not have a legal father until paternity can be established. Once it is established, the father’s name will be added to the child’s certificate, and they will gain rights and responsibilities in regards to that child.
How Do You Establish Paternity in Texas?
If you want to be the established, legal father, and your ex-spouse is unwilling to accept, then a family lawyer can help.
There are two ways that paternity can be established in Texas, either voluntarily, or involuntarily.
Establishing Paternity When Both Parents Agree
If the mother and father both agree on who the biological father is, then paternity can be established voluntarily. The mother and the father can do this by each signing an “Acknowledgment of Paternity”.
This is usually completed at the hospital after the child is born, but it can also be signed and mailed to the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin. However, if their birth certificate has already been mailed, then there will be a fee to change the father’s name.
The Acknowledgment of Paternity documentation can be obtained at the hospital, the Attorney General’s Child Support Office, the local birth registrar, or the Vital Statistics Unit.
Once a man’s name is on a birth certificate they will have father’s rights, as well as responsibilities to care for the child.
Establishing Paternity When Parents Disagree
Involuntary paternity is obtained through a court order. It is involuntary because one party disputes paternity, whether that be the mother, father, child, or the state.
You can begin this process by filing a “Petition to Adjudicate Parentage” in the court that has jurisdiction in the county the child lives in.
If the mother files the petition, then the father will need to appear in court, if they fail to do so then the judge can enact a “default order”, declaring him the legal father. If the father attends court and they both agree that he is the biological father then the court will enter an order adjudicating parentage.
If one party denies or is unsure of paternity then the court could order DNA testing, which requires the father, mother, and child to have a cheek swab. The court can then determine if he is the child’s biological father, if so, his name will be added to the birth certificate.
During a court proceeding to establish paternity, you have the right to be represented by a father’s rights lawyer at any stage of the process.
Why Does Paternity Matter?
Paternity is about more than having your name on a piece of paper. When paternity is established it benefits everyone.
Fathers gain legal rights to their children, including custody or visitation rights, so that they can form a bond and play a role in the child’s life.
Mothers benefit as they can share the costs and responsibilities of raising a child.
Finally, it allows children to have a relationship with both parents, access to medical insurance, inheritance, as well as many other benefits. Furthermore, the child can also learn about their family history, including medical history such as whether or not they may be susceptible to genetic disease.
Some of the most complex issues arise when non-biological fathers seek father’s rights. A non-biological father can still gain father’s rights if they formally adopt the child.
If you are the non-biological father of a child and think you deserve parental rights, then you should speak to a father’s rights lawyer in Houston.
What Are Father’s Rights?
Once your name is on the birth certificate, you will have parental rights. That includes:
- Child custody rights to remain in the child’s life.
- Right to pass property through inheritance.
- Rights to make decisions in regards to the child’s life including education, medical, and religious matters.
- Signing a contract on behalf of the child.
- Seeking legal counsel on behalf of the child.
- Appoint a legal guardian if both parents pass.
If you believe that the other parent is unfit to raise your child and that you should have sole child custody, you should contact a father’s rights lawyer as soon as possible.
We can help you file emergency protective orders with the court to make sure that your child is safe.
It won’t be easy to gain sole custody. Courts in Houston, TX will usually try and keep both parents in a child’s life wherever possible. However, they are also required to make decisions based on the child’s best interests. Therefore, if you can evidence why the child’s other parent is unfit, then you may be able to gain primary custody.
Houston Family Law Attorneys
If you are worried about your paternity rights in Houston, Texas, then you need quality representation. Paternity is an important issue that will affect you for the rest of your life.
As well as the rights mentioned above, if you are a child’s legal father, you may also have legal requirements placed upon you such as paying child support and having regular visitation with the child.
When it comes to family law cases, Skillern Firm has the skills, resources, and experience necessary to protect your rights.
A Texas family law lawyer at Skillern Firm will work closely with you throughout the whole process. They will be on hand to speak with you directly, answer any questions you have, and guide you through the process with a personalized approach.
Speak to a Skilled Paternity Rights Lawyer in Houston, TX Today!
An uncontested divorce is rare, but when a marriage ends and there are questions of paternity, things get particularly complex.
Whether you believe you are not the father and therefore should not be responsible for child support payments and child custody, or if you are concerned that your name is not on the birth certificate and it should be, giving you father’s rights, Skillern Firm is here to help you every step of the way.
We prioritize the attorney-client relationship and will take the time to understand your individual case. We won’t rest until you receive fair and reasonable treatment in your case.
We want you and your family to get your lives back on track as quickly as possible.
Give us a call today and speak to a fathers rights lawyer today at (936) 213-8479.