Many people are under the mistaken belief that the law gives mothers more rights than fathers in Texas. However, that is no longer the case. The new standard for determining rights to children is "Best Interest of the child." Under this standard in Texas, a father has the same rights as a child’s mother. This includes the right to be party of any court case involving the parent-child relationship. The Spring, TX Family Law Attorney’s at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan are here to answer your questions regarding paternity. We will walk you through the process of establishing or disproving your status as a father.
Spring, TX Paternity Attorneys
The attorneys at Law Office of Bryan Fagan are focused on helping families facing case involving family law matters. If you are a potential father and have questions regarding paternity in Spring, Texas, Houston or the surrounding metropolitan area, including Harris, Fort Bend, Waller, Grimes, Washington, and Montgomery counties, contact a Spring, Texas family law attorney at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan and schedule a meeting to discuss the details of your case.
Paternity Information Center
A few paternity issues relating to child support cases in Texas include:
- Presumption of Paternity
- Challenging a Presumption of Paternity
- Disproving Paternity
- Paternity by Estoppel
Presumption of Paternity
A is presumed to be a child’s father if he meets one of following tests:
- 1. If the child was born during, or within 300 days after, marriage
- If the man marries, or volunteers to marry, the child’s mother after the child is born AND
- He asserts paternity in a record filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics or
- He is named as the baby’s father on the birth certificate or
- He promises in a record to support the child as his own.
- The man lives with the child for the first two years after birth, and tells others it is his.
Challenging a Presumption of Paternity
Under most circumstances a suit to challenge the presumption of paternity must be brought within 4 years of the child’s birth. Suits Challenging Paternity are usually brought by a presumed father, if he believes he is not the child’s father.
However, I have case in which women sometimes bring these suits, to prove an ex-boyfriend or husband was not their child’s father. There are cases in which another man might may also wish to bring suit if he believes that he (and not the presumed father) is the child’s father.
Having the legal backing of one Texas child support lawyer at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can help you put forth the evidence that will challenge the presumption of your paternity. The details involved can be very subjective, so having experienced legal counsel can make the difference.
The paternity of a child with a presumed father may only be disproved in two ways:
- Genetic testing
- Acknowledgment of paternity by another man
If another man is acknowledging paternity, he must do so in writing, and the presumed father must also deny paternity in writing.
Paternity by Estoppel
In certain circumstances, the court may deny a request for genetic testing, and adjudicate the presumed father to be the child’s father. This is called “paternity by estoppel.” Paternity by estoppel only when there is a presumed father.
Paternity by estoppel usually applies in situations where the presumed father has known the child may not be his, but has continued to live with the mother, and has represented to many people that the child is his. Then when the relationship with the mother seeks to deny his paternity.
However, I have had cases where a husband and wife divorce and then the mother tries to assert the father has no right to the child because he is not the biological father but the presumed father wanted to assert paternity by estoppel because of the bond they had for the child. Presumption by estoppel is a legal principal that can cut both ways.
Factors the court looks to in deciding whether to apply the paternity by estoppel doctrine include:
- The length of time between when the man realized he may not be the child’s father, and the day the paternity action is filed
- The length of time the man has assumed the role of father of the child
- The way that the man discovered he might not be the father
- The age of the child
- The relationship between the man and the child
- Any harm that might come to the child if the court finds the man is not the child’s father
Presumption by estoppel is a doctrine used to protect children in situations where a man has long acted as the child’s father.
If you believe you may be the father of a child, or if you are presumed to be the father of a child that you do not believe is yours, it is important that you speak to a Spring, TX Family Law lawyer immediately about your rights and responsibilities.
For more information regarding Paternity Suits in Harris County, Montgomery County, in Spring or Houston Texas Call (281) 810-9760 today for your free consultation.