Helping Texas Families Navigate Divorce Since 1986

Establishing Paternity And Protecting Fathers’ Rights

Babies come into this world under a lot of circumstances, sometimes to parents who are married and sometimes not. The paternity laws in Texas protect babies born to parents who are not married. I founded my firm, the Law Office of Richard Lybarger, in Sugar Land to serve clients in the Houston area. As a family law attorney, I regularly handle paternity petitions. If you need a paternity lawyer, I can help.

When Parents Who Aren’t Married Have A Child

When babies are born to parents who are married, the law presumes that the baby is the biological child of both parents. When a baby is born to parents out of wedlock, paternity has to be established. If both parents are in agreement, paternity can be established through consent by filing an acknowledgment of paternity. This can even be done at the hospital.

Establishing Paternity By A Court Order

If parents do not file an acknowledgment of paternity, paternity can be established by a court order. Usually, the court will require genetic (DNA) testing in order to make certain that the alleged biological father of the child is, in fact, the child’s father. Paternity cases can be particularly difficult if the parties have not known each other for very long. They may have very little in common and are now bound together as parents who must find a way to co-parent their child and address the child’s financial needs over the course of many years.

Fathers’ Rights, Child Custody And Child Support

In a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) in conjunction with a paternity action, parental rights and the child’s needs are addressed. As with all SAPCRs in the state of Texas, every paternity case must, in addition to adjudicating parentage, address the needs of the child, by entering orders for:

  • Conservatorship to address child custody
  • The rights and duties of the parents to determine who will make the decisions on behalf of the child
  • Possession and access to the child
  • Financial support of the child to establish child support and medical support
  • Retroactive child support if necessary for back payments
  • Payments for the pre-and post-natal expenses of the mother and child

When children are under the age of 3 and possession and access to the child must be determined, the court will usually implement a graduated visitation schedule. When the child turns 3, there is usually a standard possession order. The court can also address any needs for supervised visitation.

Legal Support Now Can Help Establish Parental Roles And Responsibilities

A good family law attorney provides a valuable service to a single parent by helping to establish a foundation for the future. There are emotional and financial responsibilities that will come with being a single parent, especially when becoming a parent was something unexpected and maybe not even desired. If you are not married and are pregnant or are facing the prospect of being named in a paternity suit, I am someone who can help. I can help you understand what is involved in a paternity action, I can guide you through the process, and I can help you build a foundation for the future.

Do You Need A Paternity Lawyer? Call Today.

I am available for consultations by appointment. You can schedule a consultation by calling my office at 713-678-0658 or by reaching out to me using my online form. I look forward to hearing more about your case.