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Establishing paternity in Texas

Establishing paternity is important to ensure that children receive adequate benefits such as Social Security, veterans' benefits, and health care. When a couple is unmarried, it can be established under Texas law if both parents sign a document called an Acknowledgement of Paternity. This makes the father who signed the document the legal father.

The best time for parents to sign an AOP form is at the time of the child's birth. Forms are generally available at the hospital where the child is born. If the paperwork is completed at the hospital, the parents do not need to worry about mailing them in later, and there is no fee required to add the father's name to the birth certificate.

After the form is completed, the hospital will send the form to the state Bureau of Vital Statistics along with the birth certificate, where the information is then recorded. If the AOP form is not completed at the time of the birth, there is a fee for adding the father's name to the birth certificate. If the father is unavailable at the time of the child's birth, completion of the AOP form can done later at a birth registrar, child support office or any other certified entity.

Establishing paternity does not necessarily grant a father visitation rights. In some cases, the father may wish to consult an attorney. A paternity action can help a father ask a court for visitation rights and establish the amount of child support he is expected to pay.

If the father is uncertain whether or not he is the biological father, he may request a paternity test. This is a DNA test which examines the father's and the child's DNA to see if he is the father within a reasonable degree of scientific certainty. A family law attorney might provide more information on this subject.

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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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Turner, Bruce E.
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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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