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When is Paternity Presumed under Texas Law?

When is Paternity Presumed under Texas Law?

Child Custody in TexasOne of the most frequent, and often contentious, issues that can arise in family courts in Texas involves the rights of fathers to visitation with and access to minor children, particularly when the parties were unmarried at the time of conception or birth, or there are other uncertainties about paternity. The Texas Family Code has specific definitions of who qualifies as a “parent.” With respect to fathers, a man will meet the definition of “parent” if he:

  • Is presumed to be the father
  • Is legally determined to be the father
  • Is adjudicated by a court to be the father
  • Has acknowledged his paternity

Presumption of Paternity

The Texas Family Code holds that a male will be presumed to be a child’s father if any of the following conditions is met:

  • The man is married to the child’s mother and the child is born while the marriage is still valid
  • The man was married to the child’s mother and the child is born within 300 days after divorce, annulment or the man’s death. This applies even if the marriage is or could be declared invalid, provided the marriage was in “apparent compliance” with the law
  • The man married the mother after the birth of the child and voluntarily declared his paternity of the child, and he has either promised to support the child as his own or his declaration of  paternity is filed with the bureau of vital statistics
  • The man lived in the same household as the child for the first two years of the child’s life and told others he was the child’s father

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, our Baytown family law attorney brings more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

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Grandparents’ Rights in Texas

Grandparents' Rights in TexasWhat are Grandparents’ Rights in Texas?

When couples divorce and there are minor children in the home, the breakup can have a devastating impact on more than the parental relationship. A child’s bond with grandparents can be strong, and the loss of that interaction can be detrimental to the child, as well as the grandparent. Like all other states, Texas has laws governing visitation and custody of minor grandchildren, and this is often known as grandparents’ rights.

Grandparent Visitation in Texas

Under Texas law, a grandparent can successfully petition the court for visitation rights, but must show the court that visitation will be in the child’s best interests. The right to visitation is entirely at the discretion of the court—there is no absolute right to visitation with a grandchild. In addition, the grandparent must show that one of the following situations has occurred:

  • The child’s parents have divorced
  • The child has been abused or neglected by the parent
  • The parent has died, is in jail or prison, or has been determined to be legally incompetent
  • The parent-child relationship has been terminated in a court of law
  • The child has resided with the grandparent for a minimum of six months

If a child has been successfully adopted by someone other than a step-parent or other family member, the grandparents’ rights to visitation are terminated. In addition, a grandparent cannot petition the court for visitation if such an adoption takes place.

Grandparent Custody in Texas

The court may grant physical custody of a minor child to grandparents, but only if it determines that doing so is in the best interests of the minor child. A grandparent who successfully requests custody is also entitled to request child support.

Contact Us

At the office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, our Baytown family lawyer brings more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-761-6042 or contact us online. We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our offices are open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

She Claims I Am the Father of Her Child

Challenging Paternity in Texas

When you’ve had an intimate relationship with a woman and she’s pregnant, or has a child and claims it’s yours, what are your options when you are certain you’re not, or learn that it’s unlikely or questionable?

How Paternity is Established in Texas

Under Texas law, paternity can be established three different ways:

  • By presumption—If you were married to the mother at the time of birth, for a period of time before the birth, or simply lived with her continuously for two years prior to the birth, you are presumed to be the father. That presumption can, however, be challenged and you can voluntarily take a DNA paternity test to refute paternity.
  • By voluntary acknowledgement—You can sign a legally binding document known as an “Acknowledgement of Paternity.” If you obtain subsequent evidence that you may have signed the acknowledgement in error, you may be able to have it voided, based on the results of a DNA paternity test.
  • By court order—The mother, father or child (in limited circumstances) may ask the court to issue an order declaring paternity.

DNA Testing

Under modern DNA testing, paternity can be determined with a great deal of accuracy. Courts, though, typically require that the test find a 99% chance of paternity.

It is not necessary, though, to obtain a court order to have genetic DNA testing done. However, you will need biological information from both alleged parents.

Contact Us

At the law office of Linda Stewart Law, PLLC, in Baytown, we bring more than 8 years of experience to clients in south Texas. To learn how we can help, call our office at 281-420-8020 or contact us online.

We offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee of $50. We accept credit cards and will set up a payment plan, if appropriate. Our office is open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., and until noon on Fridays. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request.

Se Habla Espanol | ASL and ESL Services Also Available

The Rights of Fathers After a Divorce

It used to be that Texas law favored moms. Divorcing fathers didn’t get custody of their children except under the most extreme of circumstances. All too many fathers and their children suffered heartache when the divorce was final, and the children went from seeing their beloved father every day, with the father doing homework and playing games with them to seeing them every other weekend. Those sad days are for the most part over.

Increasingly, courts recognize that a father’s role in the life of his children is as important as a mother’s role. Fathers simply do have rights and responsibilities to their children. No matter the enmity your ex bears toward you, it is not lawful for a mother to keep your children from you. So how can you protect your rights to your children after a divorce?

The standard that Texas courts use is the best interests of the child. Increasingly, the courts are making gender-neutral decisions with regard to custody. Judges are supposed to view custody and parenting time decisions through the best interests of the child lens.

You have a right to actively parent your child, spend time with your children, attend your children’s school activities, hug your children, and continue to foster a strong bond and influence on them despite divorce.

If you are having trouble with your ex following through on the pick-up, drop off arrangements, or if she is otherwise not following through on the custodial agreement, or if you have reason to believe that she is trying to alienate your children from you, it helps to seek counsel of a family law attorney to stop the madness.

Contact a Father’s Rights Attorney

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, has provided legal counsel to men and women in divorce and other family law cases for 8 years. If you have questions about getting or paying child support, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation regarding default and uncontested divorces, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

 
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