"Paternity" is the legal fatherhood of a child or children. In Texas, once paternity is either proven or accepted, the father of the child may be held responsible for certain matters when it comes to the child. If a child is born to married parents, the husband of the woman giving birth will be listed on the child's birth certificate. However, if a child is born to unmarried parents, paternity must either be sought out by a mother or accepted by the true father of the child. If the father does not accept paternity at the time of the child's birth, the child has no legal father until paternity is proven.
Establishing Paternity In Texas
Paternity can be established a number of ways in Texas. The most straightforward and simple way is for the father to voluntarily sign an acknowledgment of paternity. This form is basically an affidavit that acknowledges a person as the father of a child and grants him the relevant rights and responsibilities that come with it.
Establishing paternity through involuntary means is the process of going through the court to request that paternity be established through legal action. The mother must have an idea of who she believes the child's potential father to be and must file a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage. If the father does not appear in court, the judge may sometimes issue a default order, and declare him the father in his absence. If the father shows up to the court hearing he may dispute the claim if he does not believe himself to be the father. If the paternity is in dispute the court will likely make an order for DNA testing. DNA testing in Texas is done with a cheek swab. These swabs are then sent to a DNA testing facility to check for a match. The court will rule on whether or not the test results are a match. If there is a match, then the father will be held responsible as a parent for the child. Once paternity is established, the court will set for orders for child support, possession, and access.