call us409-392-1511

Offices in Galveston and Hurst

If I Am Unmarried, Will I Need to Establish Paternity for My Child?

 Posted on May 12, 2023 in Family Law

Galveston, TX Paternity AttorneysTo ensure that children will have the ongoing love and support they need, it may sometimes be necessary to establish legal parent/child relationships. For mothers, this usually will not be necessary, since at the time of a child's birth, the mother will be recognized as the child's parent and listed on the birth certificate. However, a father may not always be officially recognized as a parent, and it may be necessary to establish paternity.

Paternity Establishment When Parents Are Unmarried

There are some cases where the law presumes that a man is a child's father. These include situations where a mother and father are married to each other, as well as cases where parents were formerly married within a short period before a child was born. That is, if a couple got a divorce or had their marriage annulled, or if the marriage ended when the husband died, the man will be presumed to be the father of the mother's child if they were still married at any time during the 300 days before the child's birth.

Paternity may also be presumed if a couple took certain steps recognizing that a man was the child's father. If a couple was married after the child was born, and the husband asserted parenthood, was listed on the child's birth certificate, or made a written commitment to support the child as his own, the man will be presumed to be the father of the child. If an unmarried couple chose to remain unmarried, but they lived together with their child between when the child was born and turned two years old, and the man stated to others that he was the child's father, he will be presumed to be a parent.

In situations that do not meet any of the above standards for presumption of paternity, a man will not be automatically recognized as his child's legal father, even if it is obvious to everyone that the child is his. To ensure that the father will have legal rights as a parent and that the child will be able to have an ongoing relationship with their father and receive the necessary support, paternity will need to be legally established.

There are three possible ways to establish paternity:

  • Acknowledgment of paternity - The parents may sign a legal document stating that a man is the child's father. This can be done at any time after the child is born. However, it is important to be certain about the identity of the child's father, and it is a good idea to take a DNA test to confirm paternity prior to signing. If either parent learns that the man may not be the child's father after signing the form, they can submit a Rescission of Acknowledgment of Paternity within 60 days after the original form was signed. After 60 days, it can be more difficult to challenge paternity in court.

  • Agreed paternity order - The parents may go to court and sign a legal agreement stating that a man is the child's father. In these cases, the parents must also agree on other child-related issues, including child custody, visitation, and child support.

  • Court-ordered paternity - If the parents do not agree that a man is a child's father, either parent may file a petition to establish paternity in court. The judge will then usually order DNA testing, and once paternity is confirmed, an order of paternity will be issued. The court will also address how custody of the child will be handled, and child support obligations may be established.

Contact Our Galveston County Paternity Lawyer

Establishing paternity will protect the rights of the child, allowing them to maintain a relationship with their father while receiving financial support to ensure that their needs will be met. Paternity also protects a father's parental rights, allowing him to remain in the child's life regardless of his relationship with the child's mother. If you need to establish paternity for your child, Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. can help you make sure you meet all legal requirements, and we will advise you on the best steps to take to ensure that your child's best interests will be protected. Contact our Galveston paternity attorney at 409-392-1511 to set up a free consultation and learn how we can assist with paternity or other family law issues.


Share this post:

Connect With Us

contact us

To learn more about our services or schedule a free consultation, call 409-392-1511 or fill out the form below:

Error! Form not found :(
Elite Lawyer badge badge badge badge badge
Back to Top