Our team of Sugar Land divorce lawyers at Skillern Firm are committed to maintaining and protecting father’s rights. As a father, you deserve a fair outcome in family law matters such as child custody and support. Whether you are questioning paternity, or trying to establish it, we can help.
Contested divorce cases involving unestablished paternity require an experienced divorce attorney, one who can guide you and ensure that your rights are protected throughout proceedings. Our law firm always puts the needs of any children involved first, which often means fighting to ensure that both parents retain rights to their children. We will use mediation wherever possible, but we are also highly skilled in litigation, and will fight tirelessly to protect your paternity rights in the courtroom if necessary. Our practice areas cover all divorce decree considerations, such as property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance, as well as post-divorce issues such as divorce modifications.
Speak to a Texas divorce attorney today and arrange an initial consultation, at (936) 213-8479.
The Definition of Paternity in Sugar Land, TX
Establishing Paternity under Texas law means establishing the legal father. This is an important aspect of legal separation, as the legal father has rights and obligations to the child. The legal father is the man whose name is on the birth certificate. In Texas, if a man is married to the mother when the child is born, they are presumed to be the father and their name will automatically be put on the birth certificate.
However, if the parents are not married, then the child will have no legal father until paternity is established. Which can happen if both parents agree, through adoption, or through DNA testing. Once paternity is established the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate, and they will therefore gain rights and responsibilities to the child. Few family law issues are as emotional as paternity, and it is important that you are guided by a professional.
How Do You Establish Paternity?
A family lawyer can help you establish paternity in Sugar Land, TX. There are two primary ways of doing this, depending on whether the parents agree on who the father is. If they agree, then paternity can be established voluntarily, if not, it will be established involuntarily.
When both the father and the mother agree on who the father is, then paternity can be established voluntarily. To establish paternity voluntarily, both parents will need to sign an “Acknowledgment of Paternity”. This is usually done at the hospital after the child is born but can also be mailed to the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin. Once a man’s name is on a birth certificate they gain certain rights to be involved in the children’s lives and make decisions on their behalf. They will also gain responsibilities such as the responsibility to financially contribute to the upbringing of the child.
If the mother, potential father, or the state, does not agree on who the father is, then paternity must be obtained through a court order. This process begins when a “Petition to Adjudicate Parentage” is filled with the court. If the mother begins the process then the potential father will be called to court. If they fail to attend then the Judge can sign a “default order”, declaring him the legal father. If the father attends and both they and the mother agree, then the court will enter an order adjudicating parentage.
However, if any party denies paternity, then the court can order DNA testing to determine who the biological father is. When the identity of the biological father is established, the man’s name will be added to the birth certificate. During the legal process to establish paternity, you have the right to be represented by a family law attorney at any stage of the process.
Some of the most complex family law cases we see are when non-biological fathers are seeking the rights that come with being the legal father. If you have been a big part of a child’s life since they were born, or for many years and have a strong bond, then you may feel determined to stay in their lives even after separation from the child’s mother. While it is difficult to gain father’s rights as a non-biological parent, you can do so if you formally adopt the child. It is a good idea to seek help from an attorney with extensive experience in such matters, such as those found at Skillern Firm.
Why Does Paternity Matter?
Establishing paternity benefits all parties involved. The father gains legal rights to their children, including custody rights, and the right to make decisions on their behalf. Mothers also benefit, as they have someone to share the costs and responsibilities of raising a child. Perhaps the biggest benefit is to the child, who gets to keep both parents in their life while gaining rights to medical insurance and inheritance.
What Are Father’s Rights in Sugar Land, TX?
Once a father’s name is on the birth certificate, they will have parental rights, including:
- Rights to make decisions on the child’s behalf regarding medical, educational, and religious decisions.
- Custody and visitation rights.
- The right to appoint a legal guardian.
- The right to sign contracts on behalf of the child.
- Right to pass on property through inheritance.
If your ex-spouse is a danger to the child, or negatively affects their wellbeing, and you want to apply for sole custody, then you should speak to a father’s rights attorney as soon as possible. If for example, they have been guilty of domestic violence or substance misuse, then we can help you file emergency protective orders to make sure that your child is safe.
Speak to a Skilled Family Law Attorney in Sugar Land, TX Today!
At Skillern Firm, we are committed to the rights of fathers. Whether or not you believe you are the lawful father, or you are fighting to get your name onto the birth certificate, we can help. We are committed to the best interests of children and will do what we can to help divorcing couples, come to agreements amicably. Where this is not possible, we will fight for our clients in the courtroom.
We prioritize the attorney-client relationship, which means taking the time to understand your individual case. We will retain communication throughout the process and will fight tirelessly to secure a fair outcome in your case. We cover all family law issues including contested divorces, community property division, child support, spousal support, and paternity rights.
Speak to a divorce lawyer ready to handle your case today by calling (936) 213-8479.