How paternity is determined in Texas

Courts verify paternity for multiple reasons. You or your spouse may question the paternity of your child. For example, a father may want to verify that they are the father of a child before getting into a child support agreement. A court may also wish to verify the biological father of a child if they have any doubts.

The state of Texas automatically recognizes the fatherhood of children of married couples. There is unlikely going to be any doubt over the identity of the child’s father in the court’s eyes. However, a court may order a paternity test where the mother is married to a man who is not the biological father.

Unmarried parents must work harder to prove paternity

If both parents agree on the identity of the biological father, they simply ask for an Acknowledgement of Paternity form from the hospital before or after birth. The official term for this is “voluntary paternity establishment”.

In other situations, a court will order a paternity test for a couple who questions the identity of the biological father. Prospective fathers take a cheek swab test to confirm the biological father’s identity to nearly 100 percent accuracy in between four to six weeks.

Paternity has many legal applications

Determining paternity has played a role in determining who has inheritance rights in probate court, such as this case from April 2018.

Being uncertain of the paternity of your child can have far-reaching consequences that could impact your parental rights, child support obligations and even inheritance rights. A paternity test can remove those doubts and provide peace of mind.

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