In family law cases, temporary orders are often necessary.  These are orders that can deal with a variety of issues, including temporary custody, a temporary possession and access schedule, temporary use of property, and interim attorney fees.  The orders only apply while the case is pending or until another order takes their place.  A temporary orders hearing is sort of a mini-trial.

Each county has different rules regarding temporary orders hearings.  In Collin County, you are limited to twenty minutes per side.   This includes the time for direct examination of your own witnesses and cross examination of the other side’s witnesses.  Twenty minutes goes by in a hurry, and it does not give you much time to call multiple witnesses or introduce many exhibits.  Although the judges will occasionally grant additional time, you and your attorney need to be prepared to limit yourselves to twenty minutes.   I normally plan on having only my client and the opposing party testify, but occasionally I will call an additional witness for a handful of questions.

It is really important to have an attorney who is familiar with temporary orders hearings in Collin County who knows how to get the most critical information out in a very short amount of time.  It can be difficult to obtain a different result at a final trial, if the temporary orders hearing goes against you.  Therefore, the temporary orders hearing is very important.

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Most fathers-to-be assume that being the biological father of the child automatically gives them legal status as the father.  Most fathers-to-be also assume that having their name on the birth certificate as the father makes them the legal father.  Neither of those assumptions is correct. In the state of Texas, you are not the legal father unless one of three things happens: (1) you are the presumed father; (2) you sign a valid acknowledgment of paternity, or (2) a court enters an order stating you are the father.

A man is a “presumed” father if he (a) was married to the mother when the child was born, (b) was married to the mother any time during the 300 days before the child was born, or (c) married the mother after the baby was born and voluntarily claimed paternity through the bureau of vital statistics, on the birth certificate or in a record promising to support the child as his own.  If you do not qualify as a presumed father and have not taken steps to obtain legal status as the father, you are known as the “alleged father.”  An alleged father is the genetic father or one who is claimed to be the genetic father of the child.

If you are not married and you find yourself becoming a father, you want to be sure both you and the mother sign an acknowledgment of paternity when the baby is born.  The hospital may have this form available for you to sign.  Be sure to keep a copy of the completed form for your records.  The form must be completed before a certified acknowledgment of paternity entity, and it must be properly submitted to the Bureau of Vital Statistics.  In other words, you cannot simply print a form off the internet, fill it out, and be legally considered the father.  If you and the mother properly complete an acknowledgment of paternity, you will have all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent and will legally be considered the father.

If no acknowledgment of paternity was signed and you do not meet the criteria of a “presumed father,” the courts will have to make a finding that you are the dad.  This is known as “adjudicating paternity.”  If both parties agree in court that you are the dad, then the judge will enter a finding that you are the father.  If one party contests paternity, then the court will order genetic testing.  If the testing shows you are the father, then you will legally be adjudicated as the dad.