Paternity and DNA Testing Legal Issues
There are two primary avenues through which to establish the parent-child relationship between a father and a child in cases where the parents are not married. An affidavit of paternity may be completed and filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Usually, this is done shortly after the child is born by filling out a form that the hospital furnishes. If no affidavit is filed, a court can enter an order finding that a man is the father of a child if there is sufficient proof of paternity. Modern DNA testing techniques leave no doubt concerning paternity.
Both parents have an obligation under Texas law to support their children. That obligation exists without regard to whether the parents have ever been married. In some instances, the father of a child elects to ignore his obligation to contribute financially to the support of his child. When that occurs, the mother of the child can file what is commonly referred to as a “paternity” suit and ask the court to order the father to make child support payments. In conjunction with the support orders, the court will usually give the other parent the right to have possession of the child at certain times.
Voluntary Paternity Suit
In other cases, a mother may decide that she prefers the father have no contact with the child and ask the court to prohibit the father from spending time with his son or daughter. To remedy that situation, the father can file what is commonly called a “voluntary paternity” suit to ask for orders allowing him to have time with the child. Of course, the orders will also include the assessment of child support.
More information is available on our “Paternity” page.