The father-child relationship is important for any child and establishes a bond that lasts throughout the child’s life. The inability to experience this bond could lead to issues down the line and a failure to maintain a future relationship. The establishment of paternity is important for a number of reasons, but it mostly ensures the ability to maintain an ongoing relationship with your child and custody agreement. On the other hand, sometimes men may try to claim that paternity does not exist with the child as a way to get out of paying ongoing child support.
Unfortunately, the issue of paternity often comes up in divorce proceedings (or in a break up), as a way for a quarreling couple to protest the paternity of a child and the child support obligations that accompany paternity.
In Texas, a presumed father has four years after the child is born to commence a suit to determine paternity. However, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if the following occurs:
- The child was born during (or within 300 days after) marriage; and
- The man married the mother after the child’s birth and:
- Acknowledged paternity in Bureau record; or
- Promised in a record to support the child; or
- Voluntarily named himself father on the birth certificate;
- During the first 2 years of the child’s life the man resided with the child and represented to others that the child was his.
Texas additionally has a paternity registry – a man may sign up to be notified whether proceedings for adoption or the termination of parental rights are instituted regarding the child. However, a man must sign up for the registry either before the birth of the child or within 31 days after the birth of the child. A man is entitled to receive notice regardless if he registers with the paternity registry if the father-child relation was established, or the man commenced a suit to establish paternity prior to the court terminating parental rights. The outcome of a paternity suit could also lead to child support obligations, which have the potential to be retroactive up to four years.
Paternity Suits in Texas
If you are debating the paternity of your child, as either the father or the mother, it is important to bring a suit to establish paternity as soon as a dispute arises. It is important to maintain the father-child relationship, and equally important to ensure that the child is receiving the support he or she deserves from a father.
If genetic testing establishes at least a 99% probability that the man is the father, the court must issue a ruling that the man is the father, quickly leading to child support obligations and ongoing child custody obligations. As a presumed father, it is important to consider all options and outcomes of paternity suits.
Malley Law Firm | Houston Family Law Attorney
If you are involved in a dispute involving the paternity of a child, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of the Malley Law Firm. Our attorneys have years of experience in handling paternity suits and will work tirelessly to ensure your relationship with your child is maintained. Contact our Beaumont or Houston offices today for your initial free consultation.