What Happens in a Houston Paternity Dispute?

Photo of GavelIn Texas, when a child is born to a man and woman who are not married, the courts consider the child as not having a legal father. Courts cannot order child support until the court or the parties decide who the legal parents are. A father cannot demand time to see his child until the sides determine legal paternity. Consequently, it is important to have the law recognize the parents of a child as soon as possible.

The attorney at John K. Grubb & Associates, PC knows that disputing paternity is not an easy decision. It can be very difficult to assert that a child with whom you have spent a lot of time is not your own. Alternatively, from the mother’s perspective, it can be difficult to get the biological father of your child to acknowledge his fatherhood. A Houston paternity lawyer at our firm can provide you with the guidance and understanding you need to make the best decision for yourself and your family regarding child support and paternity issues.

Disputing Paternity Issues

There are several areas where parties frequently contest paternity. The situations below describe how paternity disputes often arise and what the parties can do.

  • When the mother of the baby is married to someone other than the biological father. The husband must sign a Denial of Paternity form. In fact, the biological father cannot become the legal father until the husband formally signs this form. If the biological father refuses to sign the form, the biological mother can pursue legal action to get him to do so.
  • When a baby is born within 300 days of the date of the mother’s divorce. This is a similar case to the first situation described above. The ex-spouse must file a Denial of Paternity, as courts assume the new baby is his because the former spouses presumably conceived the baby while the marriage was still intact.
  • Parents who sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity but then change their mind. If a party changes his or her mind, he or she has 60 days to file a petition to rescind it. This is 60 days after the parties file an Acknowledgement Form or before the first court hearing, whichever one is earlier.
  • Father does not wish to acknowledge paternity. The mother should contact a Houston paternity attorney or the Texas Attorney General as soon as possible and provide as much information as she can about the father. An attorney will ensure that the law formally recognizes the biological father as the legal father.
  • Mother will not allow father to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity with her. Like the prior situation, the father should take the same steps to ensure that the law does not overlook his rights as the child’s biological father.

Once the parties take the proper, initial steps, the family law court will order tests and consider the results along with other evidence to reach its paternity decision. Contact a Houston paternity dispute lawyer at John K. Grubb & Associates, PC if you are facing a paternity dispute and would like to learn more about your rights.

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