When the parents of a family break up the relationships that are affected are not limited to just those of the two adults. Children are involved and they have a stake in how the break-up plays out.
For the sake of the best interest of the children and for the sake of financial accountability, the state of Texas gets involved in a number of different ways when child support or child custody cases arise.
While the process of sorting out such questions is much the same from state to state, the way things are handled in Texas is unique enough that parents owe it to themselves and to their children to become well informed so that obligations are met and rights protected.
Paternity suits may be used in Texas to determine the legal biological parentage of a child. They are typically pursued only when there is some disagreement about who is the father or when a purported father resists efforts to establish paternity.
Any party with an interest in establishing paternity; mother, father, child or government; can bring suit. And, unlike some states, a child can file such a suit at any point in time, as long as there is no presumed father in the picture. A statute of limitations for bringing suit may apply where paternal presumption is present. Texas law presumes the husband of a child's mother to be the father until proven otherwise.
Once a suit is filed, blood tests are likely to be ordered, the cost of which is usually shared. Negative test results will lead to the court dismissing the suit. If the results confirm biological parenthood, custody, support and visitation cases are opened. If negotiations don't lead to terms, the court may intervene.
These issues can be resolved without court, but they need court approval to be final. And it's always wise to have the counsel of an experienced attorney.