May and May represents clients in Texas paternity matters, including mothers seeking to legally establish the paternity of their child and seek support for the child, and men who want to confirm that they are the father of a child and cement their rights and responsibilities.
If a man and woman are married at the time a child is born, the man is presumed to be the father of the child. Otherwise, paternity may need to be established, either through an acknowledgment of paternity or through a court order.
It is important to be aware that even a biological father does not possess any legal rights to his child until paternity is officially established. If a man who believes he is the father of a child is not married to the child's mother, he may execute a form called an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP). As a general rule, hospital staff make this form available for both parents' signature shortly after a child's birth. The hospital files this form with the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics and it becomes official record. If the father later wishes to deny paternity, he must do so through a court action, unless he rescinds the acknowledgment within 60 days and no court case regarding the child has been filed.
If an Acknowledgment of Paternity is not signed, paternity must be established through a court order. A court action may be initiated by either the mother or a man who wishes to be legally declared the father of a child. If paternity is disputed by either the mother or alleged father, genetic testing may be ordered.
If the genetic testing confirms paternity, the court will order the father to pay child support and may order visitation, known in Texas as "access and possession." In addition, the court may order retroactive child support. Typically, retroactive child support is ordered for no more than four years.
The paternity action must be dismissed if genetic testing show that the man is not the child's biological father.
When a man has signed an AOP and been ordered to pay child support, but then comes to believe he may not be the father of the child, he may petition the court to terminate the legal parent-child relationship on the basis of mistaken paternity. If genetic testing shows the legal father of the child is not the biological father, the legal relationship will be terminated and no further child support will be due after the termination date.
Whether you are the mother or father of a child whose paternity has not been confirmed, it is important for you, and especially for the child, to have paternal responsibilities and rights clearly established.
The attorneys of May and May in Frisco, Texas represent parents in Collin County and Denton County in paternity matters, including:
Attorney Marc May is Board Certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has over 30 years of practice experience in family law matters, including paternity matters.
May and May serves clients in Collin County, Denton County, and the surrounding areas of North Texas. We invite you to explore our website and to contact our law firm to learn more about how we can help you.