Posted by Ramos Law Group, PLLC | Family Law
In Texas, unmarried parents have rights and responsibilities with respect to minor children, just as they do when the child is born into a marriage. However, the process that establishes these rights and obligations is different. There are specific ways to establish paternity, since the child’s parentage is not presumed when the parents are not officially married. If they can agree, parents can execute an Acknowledgement of Paternity that identifies the father. When there are disputes over parentage, it will be necessary to go to court – a proceeding that typically requires a court-admissible DNA test.
Whether you are seeking to prove or disprove paternity, DNA evidence is quite literally what makes or breaks the case. You cannot risk errors or omissions that affect your parental rights. As such, it is wise to rely on The Ramos Law Group, PLLC for help with the entire legal process. We are well-versed in the requirements for a court admissible DNA test, so we can leverage this proof to support your position. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with a Texas paternity attorney and check out some helpful information about the laws.
Legal Process for Paternity Cases
Assuming there is no agreement on parentage, the child’s mother and father both have standing to file a petition for determining paternity. The focal point of any legal proceeding will typically be witness testimony and exhibits, but these forms of evidence are not as credible as solid science. DNA evidence can identify the child’s father at a 99 percent accuracy rate. There are two scenarios in which a DNA test may be required:
Government officials seek to determine parentage when child support is paid out of public funds. When they have a match, they can receive reimbursement.
A parent wants to establish paternity for purposes of child support, custody, or visitation.
In both situations, the DNA test is usually a cheek swab taken in court, a medical clinic, or a state-run child support office. The results are ready in 4-6 weeks, at which point they are revealed to the court and the parties.
What Paternity Means for Parents
Though these cases often involve disputes over child support, it is important to understand what it means to establish parentage. Our Texas paternity lawyers at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC can explain the details and how they impact your rights and responsibilities as a parent. Still, keep in mind:
Once the identity of the child’s parents is determined, both of them have the right to custody and visitation.
Custody and visitation are determined in accordance with the child’s best interests, so there is a list of factors a court must consider.
Contact Our Knowledgeable Texas Paternity Lawyers to Learn More
To learn more about court admissible DNA tests and other evidence for a paternity case, please contact The Ramos Law Group, PLLC in Houston, TX. We can set up a consultation with a Texas paternity attorney who can advise you on details.