Paternity is the establishment of a man as a child’s father. In Texas, there are a number of ways that paternity may be established, which can include through presumption based on the relationship of the child’s mother and presumptive father, through acknowledgement by a presumptive father, or by testing to prove a biological connection between a presumptive father and child. When paternity is established, it opens up a wide door of legal rights and responsibilities for a man who is determined to be a child’s parent.

For example, a man who is not recognized as a parent to a child may not seek custody or visitation with the child. He may not have the right to stop the adoption of the child if the child’s mother decides that she cannot care for the youth. The man may not have any standing to play an authoritative role in the child’s upbringing or to participate in the child’s development.

Through the establishment of paternity, a man gains access to these and other legal rights. However, he may also become liable for the financial support of the child as parents are expected to provide for the children that they bring into the world. Either through a voluntary agreement or a court order, a man may be compelled to pay child support to help the child have what they need to succeed.

Readers of this Dallas family law blog may be involved in paternity proceedings at this time. They may have questions about their rights and what options they have for defending themselves against false paternity claims or pursuing parental rights against those who wish to deny them access to their children. Family law attorneys are available for consultation so that those facing paternity hearings may be well-informed as they proceed through their legal dilemmas.