Establishing paternity is the first step to getting child custody or visitation rights in Texas. It also carries other rights and responsibilities with it such as requiring the father to provide support for the child and allowing the child to inherit from the father in the event of the father’s death.
It is not necessary to establish paternity if the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth. In that case, it is automatically assumed that the husband is the father’s child, and his name is included on the birth certificate. Paternity can also be voluntarily established at the time of the child’s birth or shortly after. The father simply needs to sign a form called an acknowledgment of paternity.
It is also possible to establish voluntary paternity after the time for signing the acknowledgment of paternity has passed. A Dallas family lawyer may be able to assist parents at this time in obtaining the paternity order. The parents must agree about custody, visitation and health care. The attorney may also be able to assist the parents if the mother’s husband was not the child’s father but the husband was listed on the birth certificate.
Paternity may also be established even if the father is unwilling to acknowledge the child. A mother can get a court order that compels the father to submit to DNA testing. A father can also get assistance from an attorney in establishing paternity if he believes he is the father of a child but the mother is denying him access.
Having a relationship with the father can be critical to a child’s well-being and development. It can also be important for a mother who can draw on the financial help the father is required to provide. For fathers, the process of struggling to get custody or visitation rights to a child when the mother is trying to block access can be heartbreaking. In all of these situations, a Dallas family lawyer such as Robert Thornton may be able to help.
Robert Thornton blends a no-nonsense approach to family law with compassion and works to get the best possible outcome for parents and children. Thornton Law is dedicated to helping parents and children even when the traditional ties of marriage have been dissolved or do not exist, and the firm has a record of positive outcomes in family law cases.
Establishing paternity can mean that the parents share custody of the child, or the child may have a visitation schedule that includes some weekends and weekdays with one parent while living primarily with the other parent.
The office of the Texas Attorney General has more information on establishing paternity. If you are in Dallas, Texas, contact Thornton Law to discuss your case and the ways in which the firm may be able to assist you in establishing paternity and helping you get the best result for your child and your family.