Paternity suits have unfortunately become commonplace throughout Texas courts. These lawsuits do more harm than good, as they tend to trickle down to the children the suit is regarding. Children do not understand the importance of paternity suits and will often feel lost if there is doubt as to their parentage. Parents often forget about the best interests of their children when embroiled in a heated custody or divorce battle in the courtrooms, but children are those most affected by the outcome of any paternity suit. An experienced family law attorney will be able to best handle a paternity dispute and ensure that it comes to an amicable ending.

Paternity Suits

Under the Texas Family Code, paternity is presumed when a man has participated in one of the following situations:

  • He is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage
  • He is married to the mother of the child and the child is born before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, or divorce
  • He married the mother of child before the birth of the child in attempted compliance with law even though the marriage could be declared invalid and the child is born during the invalid marriage or before the 301st day the marriage is terminated
  • He married the mother of the child after the birth of the child and voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child and either filed the assertion with the Bureau of Vital Statistics, on the birth certificate, or promised on record to support child as his own, or
  • During the first two years of the child’s life, he lived in the household and represented to others that the child was his own

Paternity and Child Support

If you were unaware of your paternity, suit may be brought against you for retroactive child support. However, a court will consider whether you had knowledge of paternity or probable paternity during the relevant time period. A court will carefully examine all facts to determine if any factors existed that would indicate you knew you were the alleged father during the time period and willfully sought to avoid paying child support.

Paternity is a tense and emotional case to be involved in. You must think not only of your own rights and your future, but the future and rights of your child. If you were unaware that the child was in existence, you will need to think about the new duty of establishing a relationship with a child. If you were found not to be a father, you also must consider the delicate situation of retaining a relationship with your child despite lack of blood relations. Attorney Ned Gill understands the emotional impact of paternity suits and will work hard to ensure that the process goes as seamlessly as possible.