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What is meant by presumption of paternity?

In Texas, there are certain situations in which paternity is presumed without any genetic testing. In these cases, a presumed father might be the actual biological father of a child. However, a presumed father might also object, claiming not to be the actual biological father. It is helpful to understand under what conditions a presumption of paternity is made and how to rebut such a presumption if there is a disagreement with that presumption.

A man may be presumed to be a child's father if he is married to the mother of the child and that child is born during the period in which the couple is married. If a divorce has occurred, a child born prior to the 301st day following the dissolution of the marriage is deemed to be a child of the marriage. Similarly, a child born prior to 301 days passing after a marriage ends through death or other circumstances results in a presumption of paternity. A man is also considered the presumed father if he legally marries the mother prior to the child's birth and if the child is born within 300 days of a termination of the marriage.

A man may be considered the presumed father by marrying a child's mother after the birth and also voluntarily recording an assertion of paternity. In addition to filing an assertion, it is necessary for the presumed father to be voluntarily listed on a birth certificate and for him to promise on the record to provide financially for the child's support. A presumption of paternity may also be made if a man has resided in a household where the child lives for the first two years of life while also representing that the child is his.

If a presumed father chooses to rebut, the issue may go through an adjudication process unless a valid denial of paternity is filed while another individual files a valid acknowledgement as the father. This may be coordinated with legal counsel to ensure that court requirements are met.

Source: Texas Constitution and Statutes, "CHAPTER 160. UNIFORM PARENTAGE ACT", November 17, 2014

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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