Under Texas law, when a child is born to a married couple, the husband is presumed to be the father. When an unmarried couple has a baby, the law does not presume a father. If a woman wants to establish paternity in order to receive child support, she needs to file suit to have the paternity established. Similarly, a father who seeks visitation or custody of his child may need to seek a paternity determination from the court. Alternatively, a man may wish to deny parentage and legally show that he is not the father. A DNA test can be conducted to show whether or not a specific man is the father if the parties dispute parentage.
Paternity is often an unexpected issue in child custody cases. When there is no presumed father, a child custody or child support suit must be brought in terms of a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage. The court will generally not award child support against someone who has not been adjudicated the father, nor will the court give such a man rights with respect to the child.
Whether you want to contest paternity or have paternity confirmed, The Draper Law Firm can help.