Being in a position where you need a divorce means that your life may feel like it's traveling at the speed of light and in slow motion all at the same time. In one regard, you could feel like the events of the divorce are all transpiring so quickly. Hiring an attorney, getting your property in order, and having to adjust the kids’ schedules. This all takes time that a divorce may not afford you. This is especially true if your divorce has been filed by your spouse and you are having to scramble to get on the ball and respond to their petition. There’s a deadline associated with filing your Answer and if the divorce came out of the blue then you may be hustling to do all of these things- and get a response to the divorce case.
In other ways, your life may be moving as slowly as molasses. You could be thinking more and more about your life after the divorce- where you will be living, what career change you may need or want to make as well as the finances that your household budget will need to embrace given the realities of living in a one-income household. While you have a moment to consider these changes the divorce itself may seem like it is going to take forever to complete.
What I am describing in today's blog post so far are circumstances that are common across the board. Wanting your divorce to get over with as quickly as possible is not uncommon. Being concerned about your finances before and after the divorce is not uncommon. Even being concerned with your relationship with your children After the divorce is something that I think most parents concern themselves with. But we also need to think about, however, is the likelihood of something out of the ordinary impacting your divorce.
One of those sorts of unorthodox situations could involve you having a baby during or shortly after or even during the divorce. The prospect of being pregnant during a divorce is not something that I am sure you want to contemplate. The uncertainty of a divorce coupled with the uncertainty and stress of pregnancy is enough to cause anyone to feel like they have lost control of their case. On the other hand, if you are a man who is going through a divorce and your wife is pregnant with a baby that's not yours then this is a stressful situation for you as well. You want to do what is right and fair- but do not want to be responsible for a child that is not your own.
While it is reasonable to expect that you will not be held responsible for the care of a child that is your biological son or daughter. The fact that your wife is pregnant means that there is a presumption in society and the law that this child is yours. With that said, there are steps that you and your wife can take to ensure that your case is handled delicately and respectfully while not putting you in a position where you may become responsible for taking care of a person that is not your biological child.
There will be a lot of moving pieces in a divorce like this. To try and navigate these uncertain waters by yourself would be asking a lot. For that reason, I think it is a wise choice for you to try and work with an experienced family law attorney. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan work with people just like you all around our community. We aim to provide top-notch legal representation at an affordable price. A free-of-charge consultation can be had with one of our attorneys six days a week via phone, online, or in person.
When a wife is pregnant with a child that is not her husband’s
If you are a man reading this blog post, then you should know that the law in Texas says that if you are the legal father of a child born to your wife during your marriage. As a result, if your wife has a child with another man then this is a problem. This should tell you that you need to overcome this presumption to protect yourself, your spouse as well as your child. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a position where you are responsible for the care of a child that is not your biological son or daughter. This can have a dramatic impact on the child who did nothing wrong and did not ask to be put in this situation.
Sometimes I will get the question of whether it is still the case that this presumption applies even if you and your Spouse were separated from one another. It could have been that you and your spouse lived apart from one another for a certain period during a period of marital difficulties or simply in anticipation of A divorce. These folks will oftentimes assume that because of the physical separation from their spouse over an extended period that the presumption that I just went over would not apply to them. However, the law does not have an exception for parents who were physically separated during this time. You would still be presumed to be the father of this boy or girl so long as the child is born during the marriage.
Because you are not the biological father of the child you have some work to do to not be listed as the biological and therefore legal father of this child. This is in your best interests as well as the best interests of the child him or herself. This is important for you both in the long term and for you in the short term. The reason being is that you cannot complete your divorce cases until the issue of paternity of this child is established one way or another. We are going to be discussing this topic based on the assumption that you do not want to be the father of the child and that you plan on challenging paternity in court.
One issue that you may want to discuss with an attorney is whether you should try to work through the issue of paternity before your divorce even begins. This could be done by filing a petition to determine the paternity of the child. In that petition, you would deny paternity and request genetic testing to provide the court with evidence that you are not the child’s father. However, you would need to wait until the child is born before any genetic testing could be completed.
What is paternity?
we have used the term paternity quite a bit already in today's blog post. Before we go any further, I would like to make sure that we spell out a specific definition of paternity for us to be able to utilize in the context of a family law case or any other legal setting in Texas. The reason for this is that we can make a lot of assumptions about what paternity means but I don't want to go any further until We specifically talk about what fraternity means.
Paternity is the identification of a man as the father of a child. Legal paternity means taking a child's biological father and putting him in a position where he then becomes the legal father of the child.
There are three ways that paternity can be established in Texas. We have already discussed the first method, namely paternity by presumption. This occurs when a mother and a father are married in a child is born during that marriage. In that case, you would be presumed to be the father of the child from a legal perspective. The next method of determining paternity in Texas is by voluntary acknowledgment. This could be completed by filling out an acknowledgment of paternity form and filing it With the Bureau of vital statistics in Austin. Finally, you could also file a court case to determine paternity through a petition. Evidence will be submitted to a judge and the judge would decide on who is the legal father of the child.
Establishing the paternity of the child in your situation will be important to your wife and the actual father of the child. A situation where you are not the child's genetic father means that the child's actual father must voluntarily acknowledge that he is the dad. This is usually done through the signing of an acknowledgment of paternity along with your wife wherein they both declare this man to be the biological father of the child. Doing so causes the man to assume legal obligations in terms of rights and duties to the child.
At the same time, you as the presumed father would sign a denial of paternity. The denial of paternity we do the exact opposite of the acknowledgment of paternity. Namely, you would be stating under penalty of perjury that you are not the child's genetic father. In a situation where you wanted to contest paternity and argue that you are the biological father then that could be part of the case as well. In which case you wouldn't have to do anything as the presumed father due to the marriage period it would be the other man who would need to contest paternity and assert that he is the biological father of the child.
However, in a situation where your wife and the biological father sign acknowledgment of paternity and you sign a denial of paternity then those forms would be filed together with the Texas vital statistics unit. At which time the child's genetic father would become the child's legal father and have all the rights and duties of a parent. Additionally, your rights and duties as a parent would be ended simultaneously. This means that the child would have no right to inherit property from you and you would have no duty to support the child such as through child support.
It is important to note that an acknowledgment opportunity and a denial opportunity can be one form. Or they may be different forms depending upon what is easier for you and your spells to do considering the circumstances of your case. Until both forms are completed and filed with the Texas vital statistics unit neither form has any Legal importance. Therefore, there must be some deal of coordination between you and your spouse when it comes to completing these forms. Your attorney, if you choose to hire one, will need to stay on top of this process to ensure that you do not fulfill your end of the obligation while your spouse and the biological father failed to do their end.
The other option would be to obtain a court order which declares another man to be the biological father of the child. You, the child's mother, and the child's genetic father can also file a paternity case and ask a court to issue a paternity order. At which time the judge would order DNA testing as part of the paternity case. Once the paternity order is signed it is known as an order adjudicating parentage. This is the document that would place legal rights to the child in the biological parent and not you. Your time is having any legal duties or writing to the child would be over.
Information for mothers
If you are reading this blog post from the perspective of a mother, this is also the method of how you would be able to establish child custody, visitation, and child support orders for your child. Once paternity is declared by a court then you could go ahead and tackle the rest of these issues period until then, you would not be able to adjudicate any issues regarding these subjects. There needs to be a legal father in place to establish rights and duties for a conservatory.
And the acknowledgment of the paternity form as well as the denial of paternity form can be completed at the hospital when your child is born. The forms can be completed and given to a nurse or other representative from the hospital the hospital will file the paperwork on your behalf. This would take the child's biological father and your husband to be willing to fill the forms out at the hospital. You need to be able to gauge whether this is a safe environment to put everyone into and whether or not it may be better to wait until a later date to finish these steps in the process.
Additionally, acknowledgment of paternity and denial of paternity can also be completed at a local birth registrar or child support office. The office of attorney general has field offices located throughout major metropolitan areas and even in smaller communities. Usually, the office has representatives from the attorney general in each location. typically, there will not be attorneys present at the office, but the attorney general representatives will have authority to act on behalf of the trade general and even help your child's father negotiate child support and other orders. From there, the agreements can be sent to a court for the judge's signature.
Once an acknowledgment of paternity or a denial of paternity is signed then you will need to request copies for your divorce case. The acknowledgment of paternity and denial of paternity will need to be included with the final decree of divorce to be kept for your records. obtaining a paternity order means filing a paternity case to establish the paternity of your child. This case can be filed by your husband, you, or your child's genetic father. These are complicated matters especially when you consider that most or at least some paternity cases are not agreed on cases where all parties agree on who the father is.
This means that you may want to consider filing the case with the office of the attorney general or hiring a private attorney. Either row allows you to put yourself in a position where your case will get filed and moved along in the process. Sometimes roadblocks develop when you were trying to do a case by yourself, and you do not want to see this case delayed unnecessarily. When you hire an attorney to help represent you then you know ahead of time that he will be able to get advice and perspective on the case in addition to who a clear path to a decision. having Peace of Mind when it comes to knowing that your child will be cared for is an important part of this process. However, you hold the power in your hands to make sure, but this is an issue that can be settled and put to rest for you and your family.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way to learn about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of divorce for a child custody case.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
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- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
- I Want a Texas Divorce but My Husband Doesn't: What can I do?
- Am I Married? - Marital Status in Texas
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- 6 Tips - On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
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- 6 Mistakes that can Destroy Your Texas Divorce Case
- Does it Matter who Files First in a Texas Divorce?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Spring Divorce Attorneys
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Attorneys right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce attorneys in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, and surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.