How to Establish Paternity
Texas law now refers to paternity as parentage. When a child is born to an unmarried woman, typically either the mother or father of the child has to file a paternity/parentage action in order to establish that the father of the child is indeed the actual biological father. Oftentimes a mother will want to file a paternity action against the father with the real purpose of establishing his parentage so that the Court can order him to pay child support. Also, the father of the child may want to file a paternity action in order to establish himself as the father and presumed parent of the child in order that he be accorded with all of those rights and duties of a parent set out in the Texas Family Code.
In establishing the paternity/parentage of the child, the Court will always set out in its order all of the terms pertaining to the custody of the child, rights and duties of the parents, visitation rights, child support and all other matters that may need to be set out in the Court’s order that are relevant to the legal relationship between the child and the child’s parents.
In a paternity/parentage action, an alleged father may request that the Court order that the parties and child submit to genetic testing in order to absolutely prove the alleged father’s biological relationship to the child. Obviously, the alleged father can admit that he is the father of the child and forego genetic testing. However, if he has any doubt as to whether he is the father of the child, the better course of action is to request genetic testing. Also, even if the child was born during the marriage of husband and wife, if the husband has any doubt as to whether he is the biological father of the child, the husband can request genetic testing in order to remove any doubt from his mind as to his biological relationship with the child. However, there are certain time limitations to bringing such a request.