Southlake Paternity Lawyer

Interested in Establishing Paternity in Southlake, TX?

If a child is born to unmarried parents, establishing paternity is essential to determine child custody, visitation rights, and child support. That is why determining paternity can be a complex and emotionally charged issue. 

At the Law Office Of Mark M. Childress, our Southlake paternity attorneys can help you navigate the legal process of establishing paternity, including DNA testing, court orders, and other legal procedures. We offer compassionate and knowledgeable legal representation for clients involved in hotly contested paternity disputes to help you obtain the most favorable outcomes in their cases.

If you are facing a paternity issue in Southlake, we can help. Contact us today at (817) 497-8148 to schedule a consultation with a skilled paternity attorney.

What is Paternity?

Paternity refers to the legal recognition of a man as the father of a child. Establishing paternity is an important legal process that formally identifies the biological father of a child. This recognition carries several benefits for both the child and the parents involved.

The following are several advantages of establishing paternity:

  • Legal Rights and Responsibilities: When paternity is established, it grants legal rights and responsibilities to both the father and the child. This includes the father's right to visitation or custody and the child's right to financial support from both parents.
  • Financial Support: One of the primary benefits of establishing paternity is that it ensures the child's right to financial support from both parents. This typically involves child support payments made by the non-custodial parent (the parent who doesn't have primary physical custody) to help cover the child's expenses, such as education, healthcare, and basic needs.
  • Access to Health Insurance and Benefits: Many fathers provide health insurance and other benefits for their children. Establishing paternity can enable the child to access these benefits, which can be crucial for their well-being, especially in cases of medical emergencies or ongoing healthcare needs.
  • Inheritance and Legal Benefits: Paternity can affect a child's inheritance rights, ensuring they are entitled to any inheritance or legal benefits that may be available from their father's estate in case of the father's death.
  • Emotional and Psychological Benefits: For the child, knowing who their biological father is can have emotional and psychological benefits. It can help answer questions about identity and provide a sense of belonging. It may also facilitate a stronger emotional bond between the child and both parents.
  • Medical History and Genetic Information: Knowledge of the biological father's identity can be important for the child's medical history. This information can be vital for assessing genetic risks and making informed decisions about healthcare.
  • Social and Cultural Identity: Paternity recognition can play a role in a child's social and cultural identity. It can help them understand their family background and heritage.
  • Legal Documentation and Rights: Establishing paternity results in the creation of a legal document that formally recognizes the father-child relationship. This document can be important for various legal matters, such as custody arrangements, child support orders, and the child's legal identity.
  • Access to Government Benefits: Some government benefits, such as Social Security or veterans' benefits, may be available to the child when paternity is established, depending on the circumstances.
  • Parental Involvement: For the father, establishing paternity can affirm his parental rights, giving him the opportunity to be actively involved in his child's life and decisions, including matters related to education, healthcare, and upbringing.

How to Establish Paternity in Texas

This is the simplest way to establish paternity. If both parents agree on who the father is, they can sign an "Acknowledgment of Paternity" form, typically at the hospital after the child's birth or at a later time. Once signed and filed with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit, it legally recognizes the father as the child's legal parent.

In some cases, Texas law presumes a man to be the father without genetic testing if he was married to the child's mother at the time of birth or if he voluntarily signed the birth certificate.

If the parents cannot agree on paternity, either parent can file a paternity suit in court. The court may order genetic testing to determine paternity. If the test results show a high probability of paternity, the court will issue an order establishing the man as the legal father.

FAQs About Paternity in Texas

What happens if the alleged father refuses to take a paternity test?

If the alleged father refuses to take a paternity test, the court may issue a subpoena requiring him to undergo testing. Refusing to comply with a court order for a paternity test can have legal consequences.

Can a paternity test be done before the child is born?

Yes, prenatal paternity testing is possible, but it carries some risks and may not always be accurate. It's essential to consult with a medical professional before pursuing prenatal paternity testing.

What rights and responsibilities come with establishing paternity in Texas?

Establishing paternity gives the father legal rights to custody and visitation with the child. It also comes with the responsibility to provide financial support for the child.

Can paternity be contested after it has been established?

Yes, paternity can be contested after it has been established, but the process can be complex. It typically involves presenting evidence to the court that casts doubt on the established paternity.

What if the alleged father denies paternity, but the mother insists he is the father?

In such cases, the court may order genetic testing to determine paternity. If the test results confirm paternity, the court will proceed accordingly based on Texas paternity laws.

Is there a statute of limitations for establishing paternity in Texas?

In Texas, there is no statute of limitations for establishing paternity. Paternity can be established at any time before the child turns 18.

Can a father voluntarily give up his parental rights in Texas?

Yes, a father can voluntarily relinquish his parental rights through a legal process known as "voluntary termination of parental rights." However, this typically involves court approval and may require the consent of the other parent or legal guardian.

What if the alleged father is deceased?

If the alleged father is deceased, paternity can still be established posthumously through genetic testing using samples from the alleged father's relatives, such as siblings or parents.

Can paternity be established if the father is unknown?

Yes, paternity can still be established even if the father's identity is unknown. In such cases, genetic testing may be conducted to determine paternity based on potential relatives or other available evidence.

What if the mother is married to someone else when the child is born?

If the mother is married to someone else at the time of the child's birth, her husband is presumed to be the legal father of the child. However, paternity can be contested through legal proceedings, including genetic testing.

What if the alleged father lives in another state?

If the alleged father lives in another state, paternity can still be established through legal procedures, including coordinating with authorities in both states and potentially utilizing interstate paternity laws.

Ready to Help You Today

Our Southlake paternity lawyers will assist you in the process of establishing paternity, whether through voluntary acknowledgment, genetic testing, or a court order. We will ensure that your rights as a parent are protected throughout this process.

No two paternity cases are the same. Our team will work closely with you to develop a personalized legal strategy tailored to your unique circumstances and goals.

Contact us today at (817) 497-8148 and take the first step toward resolving your paternity matter. Your family's future is our priority.

The Opinions That Matter Most

  • My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice.

    “Value a capable team with experienced staff. For the past 9 months, the folks at the Law Offices of Mark Childress handled my case with class and empathy. My questions were heard and answered without having to ask twice. I felt like I was kept in the loop and always briefed properly. As I move forward with other ventures I wouldn't be surprised if we crossed paths again. And hats off to Konner, THANK YOU!”

  • Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client.

    “I needed an attorney who would stand up for me and my child during a very hard time. Mark was there to answer every question, every phone call and did it in a way that I felt as if I were his only client. He was very knowledgeable not only about the law but about the opposing attorney and the judge. He prepared me well and we won our case. I would recommend Mark Childress to anyone who is fighting for custody or in need of child support.”

  • I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care.

    “I called in inquiring about a divorce and how it all happens. I had 2 people call me back within an hour and in an hour maybe 2 I was talking with the lawyer. I highly recommend him and his staff. They are courteous, prompt and they care. Divorce is the hardest thing we will go through minus losing a kid and his team will be retained. He even called me back himself the next day to see how I was. Great service.”

  • This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years.

    “This guy is amazing. In a matter of minutes, he accomplished what no other attorney could in 6 years. He had my case figured out in 1short conversation and had what he called "a convoluted mess" fixed. I'm pretty sure my ex felt like he'd been hit by a bus. My family is finally in tact and everyone is finally happy.”

Why Choose Us For Your Family Matters?
  • Direct Access To Your Attorney

    Our Attorneys personally handle each case themselves. You will have direct access to your attorney to be able to get the answers that you need. 

  • Transparency
    Honesty and transparency are critical in building trust with your attorney. You will always know what is going on with your case every step of the way.
  • Team Oriented

    At our firm you're not just a case number, our staff will always know the status of your case and help to make your situation more manageable.

  • Personalized Approach
    Our team understands that no two cases are the same. Your strategy will be tailored specifically to you and your family's goals.