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When an unmarried couple has a child in Texas, paternity must be established before other legal rights over the child can be exercised by the father. Any dispute involving the interests of the child, including child support, child custody and child visitation will depend on establishing the father’s paternity. This is true for both a man attempting to prove paternity and a man attempting to challenge an alleged paternity. Proving the true paternity of a child is extremely important, both emotionally and legally. If you are in Texas and are having a dispute over paternity, an experienced paternity lawyer can assist you. Jeff Anderson has over 20 years of experience handling complex family cases and has helped hundreds of parents with paternity issues.
Texas Describes Potential Fathers in Different Ways for Paternity Suits
When paternity is not completely clear there are four different categories that a man, and potential father, could fall in. It is legally important to determine which category is relevant because it may shift which party has the burden of proof. Burden of proof is important because whoever has it is has to prove their points, not the other way around. That’s why it is important to retain legal counsel from a paternity attorney with a history of handling cases like this. The four ways Texas might categorize you in a paternity case are:
Alleged Father – An alleged father is a man who is alleged to be the father but does not appear on the birth certificate, has not signed any document acknowledging that he is the father and has not been deemed to be the father by any Court decision. In this case, it would be the person who is alleging the man’s paternity that has the burden of proof. That party would have to prove in Court that the man alleged to be the father actually is the father. This is often done by a DNA test. In the case of an alleged father, the first legal action will be a suit to determine parentage.
Presumed Father – A presumed father is a man who is legally presumed to be the father of a child usually because of an existing relationship. For example, if a married women has a child, her husband is legally presumed to be the father of that child. This is a rebuttable presumption, and the man could file a Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR) to attempt to prove he is not the father of the child.
Acknowledged Father – A man who signs a legal document called an acknowledgement of paternity’ may create a legal relationship with the child. This document is filed with the state of Texas and is considered legally binding. However, just as in the case of the presumed father, it is possible to challenge this document in court.
Adjudicated Father – This is the man who has been determined by the court to be the father of a child. Typically this is the result of a prior paternity lawsuit. It is possible for an adjudicated father to challenge this status in court, but it is extremely difficult.
Contact An Experienced Texas Paternity Attorney
Uncertain paternity is important to resolve for all parties involved. Jeff Anderson is an experienced paternity lawyer who understands the legal issues surrounding paternity in any circumstance. If you have any questions about paternity in Texas or family law in general, contact Jeff Anderson today. He will sit down with you and listen to your story and see what he can do to help you with paternity in your case.