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Mothers have automatic legal rights to a child based on the fact that the identity of the mother is obvious. For fathers, the issue of paternity can be a more difficult process.
Texas law sets forth three ways to establish the paternity of a child: (1) presumption of paternity, (2) acknowledgement of paternity, and (3) court order of paternity.
The first method which I’ll discuss today is the presumption of paternity. The presumption of paternity is the easiest method and requires only that the parents be married at the time of the child’s birth. Texas law presumes that the husband is the father of any child born during that marriage and automatically grants legal parental rights to that husband.
Texas law also sets forth three additional situations where a man is presumed to be the father. First, if the husband and wife are no longer married, but the child was born within 300 days of the divorce. Second, if a man marries the child’s mother after the child’s birth and voluntarily claimed paternity with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit. Finally, a man is presumed the father if he lives continuously with the child for the first two years of the child’s life and represents the child to others as being his child.
In the above situations, a man who is the genetic father of the child doesn’t need to take any further steps to establish his paternity of the child. He automatically enjoys all rights and duties of a parent under Texas law. If the presumed father is not the genetic father then steps must be taken to remove the rights and duties from that person. In my next post, I’ll discuss the two other ways to establish paternity.
Michael Diaz is a Divorce and Family Law attorney in McKinney, Texas.
Providing effective and efficient solutions to Divorce, Custody, and Family Law clients in McKinney, Frisco, Allen, Plano, Melissa, Princeton, Prosper, Fairview, Celina and throughout Collin County.
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