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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.

How frequently paternity is established

Fathers in Texas and throughout the country of children born out of wedlock are more likely to claim the child as theirs when the mother is healthier, better off financially and better educated. The father is also slightly more likely to claim paternity when the child is a boy. These were the findings of a study that was published in the journal Human Nature that looked at 5.4 million births to unmarried women over a four-year period.

Establishing paternity and DNA testing

In some Texas cases, a man will need to take steps to establish his paternity of a child. When a child is born to unmarried people, the man is not automatically presumed to be the father. He may need to request DNA testing in order to prove that he is the child's father so that he can seek custody or visitation.

The importance of establishing paternity for your child

Unmarried mothers and fathers are frequently at odds when it comes to child support, custody and visitation matters. When paternity has not been established, however, they become even more difficult to resolve. Texas courts require that paternity be established before a ruling is made on such issues.

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.

What are the benefits of establishing paternity?

Parents and guardians in Texas may benefit from learning more about how the state handles paternity. The Texas Attorney General advises fathers to establish paternity, even if they are already providing support. Paternity may be established by the courts or voluntarily through the parents' mutual agreement. If parents can mutually agree, paternity can be established by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. The form serves as legal recognition for identifying a parent, and is then submitted to the Texas Vital Statistics Unit.

The Texas paternity process

When a mother and father disagree on the paternity of the child involved, a paternity suit could be filed in a Texas court. The suit is simply used to find out who is that father of the child. In some cases, there could be a question as to who the mother of the child is, but this is normally asked by government agencies if the child has been abandoned or adopted.

Athletes set the trend for paternity leave

Texas residents may be interested in the current attitude many athletes have when it comes to fatherhood and the births of their children. Many notable athletes, including golfer Hunter Mahan, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Miami Heat player Chris Bosh, have recently either missed time to attend the birth of their child or expressed their opinion to do so.

Faking pregnancy is illegal

People in Texas and around the country should be on the lookout for fraud these days, in many forms. There are people who have been known to claim that they are pregnant, say they need to have an abortion and ask for money from multiple partners. According to the Atlantic, one woman and her partner faked a pregnancy and then told their friends, family and employers that they had a miscarriage and needed money to cover funeral expenses. Sometimes people fake pregnancy in order to elicit a marriage proposal.

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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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