A scenario that a potential client recently presented to our office involved a mother wanting to add the father of her child to his birth certificate. The complicating factor was that the father is now deceased. When a woman and a man have a child and are not married there is no legal “presumption” that the man is the father of the child. As a result, his name will not necessarily be on the child’s birth certificate. This presents challenges and issues ranging from the child’s ability to inherit money from the father’s estate to the child being able to collect social security benefits upon the father’s passing away.
In the State of Texas, a form available through the Office of the Attorney General called an Acknowledgment of Paternity, offers parents that are not married to sign off on the man being designated as a child’s biological father. When both, the biological father and the mother, sign the Acknowledgment form it becomes a legal finding of paternity. However, should the biological father die prior to being able to acknowledge paternity a mother or other interested party must undertake additional steps in the legal process to have the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate.
A mother or other interested party may initiate a lawsuit in District Court known as a Petition to Adjudicate or Establish Paternity. The party would request that the Court allow for genetic testing of the deceased father. The Texas Family Code states that if a party shows good cause then the Court may issue such an order. Should paternity be established as a result of testing, the Court would issue an Order which states that the deceased man is now legally the biological father of the child.
The final step in the process is to have the mother or other party contact the Texas Department of State Health Services where the aforementioned court Order showing the true and correct parents of the child can be submitted. This State agency will add the deceased father to the child’s birth certificate.
Before attempting to undertake this complicated legal process on one’s own, it is recommended that an interested party contact an experienced family law attorney. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan is experienced in handling disputed paternity cases effectively for clients across the State of Texas.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring, Texas Family Lawyers
If you have questions regarding paternity, it's important to speak with an attorney right away to protect your rights as a parent. Our family law lawyers are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, TX, Spring, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Tomball, the FM1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers, Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend County and Waller County.