Sometimes, if a child's parents are unmarried when the child is born and the child's mother has sole custody of the child, she may wish to pursue child support from the child's father. Similarly, the child's father may want to pursue visitation rights. For either of these events to occur, however, paternity must be established.
Family law matters can be complex and confusing. One area that can be especially confusing is paternity. For men in Texas, they may not fully understand what it means to establish paternity or to be asked to submit to a paternity test.
In Texas, when a man gets a woman pregnant, this does not automatically give the man paternal rights to the child. Unlike married couples where there is the presumption that the husband is the father of the child, an unmarried father needs to establish paternity.
While some families begin with parents getting married and planning to have children, some occur unexpectedly between unmarried couples. In some cases, it may not be clear who the father is. This could be at question even when parents are married. When paternity is at issue, parents can take certain steps to not only get an answer but also options when the results are in.
For unmarried parents, there are some hurdles to overcome in the event that the relationship does not work. For the presumed father, he may need to take steps to establish paternity. Once paternity is established, an order for custody can take place. In addition to obtaining placement or visitation time with a child, a child support order can also be established.
There are many reasons why mothers and fathers take steps to prove a man is the father of a child. A mother may be seeking child support and needs to establish paternity so the state can take action to secure these funds. A father may seek paternity as a measure to obtain a relationship with a child. In contrast, there are also reasons to contest or challenge paternity. A man may want to avoid such financial obligations by proving that he is not the father. A mother may also challenge it when she believes that someone else is the actual father.
In Texas and other states, unmarried parents can face additional hurdles to overcome when they are no longer together. In some cases, a mother or a father will take steps to establish paternity. Whether a mother is asserting that a man is the father when he is contesting it or a father is seeking to establish paternity following a breakup, it is important to understand the process one may go through to establish paternity.
Much like a divorce with children is a difficult and emotional process, ending a relationship that involves a child is also challenging. Unmarried parents face similar issues when it comes to determining custody and placement of the child; however, these parents face different issues that are unique to this matter. While they do not have to go through the added issues like property division or spousal support, unmarried couples must first establish parental rights. In other words, unmarried fathers in Texas must take steps to establish rights as the father to the child in question.
In Texas, paternity means that a child has a legal father. Unlike married couples, a child born to unmarried parents does not have a recognized biological father. This means that an unmarried biological father does not have legal rights to the child until paternity is established and he becomes a legal parent.
There's an old saying that one cannot be "a little bit pregnant." That is to say, a person is either pregnant or she is not. Similarly, in a biological sense, a man is either the father of a child or he is not. Legally speaking however, things are a bit more complicated. For example, if a couple is married, any child born to a female partner is presumed to be the child of a legal husband, until that presumption is overcome by evidence. A non-married man may also be considered the father of a child if he has made an official acknowledgement of paternity, either at birth of subsequently. But what if he later decides he is wrong? Is it possible for a Texas 'father' to disavow the paternity of a child?