Paternity is a legal distinction that identifies a child’s father. It can be established in multiple ways depending on whether the child’s parents were married or not at the time of the birth. Establishing paternity is vital not only for the rights of the child but for the parents as well.

Our dedicated family law attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates could help you through this process. Whether you are a father or mother, a Missouri City paternity lawyer could help you exercise your parental rights and protect your child.

How Does Establishing Paternity Work?

The methods used to establish paternity vary depending on whether or not the parents were a married couple at the time of birth. This is because there is a presumption of paternity upon a husband of a married woman when she gives birth. Unless the husband takes steps to dispute paternity, this presumption will officially establish him as the father of the child.

There are additional steps to take if a father and mother are unmarried. Depending on the circumstances there are two approaches that a Missouri City attorney could pursue to establish paternity. The first involves filing a form known as the Acknowledgment of Paternity. This document is essentially an affidavit executed by an individual that declares that they are the father of a child. Both parents must be in agreement in order for an Acknowledgment of Paternity to be effective. If only one parent signs the Acknowledgment, it has no legal effect.

Sometimes, this method is not a realistic option. This could be the case when the supposed father refuses to acknowledge paternity or when the relationship between the two parents is strained. In these cases, court intervention could mandate a DNA test. This legal proceeding is referred to as a Suit to Determine Paternity. In these cases, the court can require the alleged father to submit to a DNA test to determine if they are the biological parent of the child. If the DNA test comes back positive, the court can establish paternity via court order. This can be a tumultuous process for either parent. Fortunately, our team has vast experience handling these cases and could work hard to protect a mother’s or a father’s rights in these scenarios.

The Timeline for Establishing Paternity

It is not unusual for relationships to change after soon-to-be parents learn of a pregnancy. These changing relationships can have an impact on the presumption of paternity that comes with a married couple. For example, parents that marry after the mother becomes pregnant but before the birth of the child will have the same presumption given to all married couples.

Marriage is not necessary for establishing a father’s identity, but it is important to take these steps without delay. Waiting too long to establish paternity could have unintended consequences regarding everything from child custody to inheritance. A paternity lawyer in Missouri City could help a parent fight for their rights without delay.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity provides benefits to both the mother and father, and therefore, either parent should seek one of our attorneys in Missouri City when going through this legal process. A legal determination of fatherhood can help a mother by allowing her to obtain financial support for her child. Only legally-established parents are required to financially provide for their children. Therefore, a mother cannot ask for child support without first legally identifying the father of her child. Likewise, confirming paternity can also help the father secure parental rights that they would not have had otherwise, such as the right to visitation. Overall, establishing paternity may be in the child’s best interest as well as it can provide answers to important questions regarding family health history.

Contact a Missouri City Paternity Attorney As Soon As Possible

Parental rights are worth fighting for. Thankfully, you do not have to fight for them on your own. The right attorney could help you establish paternity in your case no matter the relationship you have with the other parent. Let a Missouri City paternity lawyer review your case and assist you with any upcoming legal processes. To get started, call to schedule a private initial consultation.