According to state law, when a baby is born to unwed parents, that child may not have a legal father. In this situation, a father who wishes to assert his rights, and potentially obtain custody of a child, will need to prove paternity to the court.

Sometimes, paternity is complicated and leads to disputes between the parents. Individuals wishing to establish the identity of a child’s father should speak to a West Lake Hills paternity lawyer. Our dedicated team of family attorneys could help either a mother or a father through this process and protect their rights.

How Fathers Can Establish Paternity

Fathers may wish to prove paternity to establish a relationship with their child. In some cases, a father may suspect that he is the biological father of a child, but the mother may not agree to include him on the birth certificate or to acknowledge his paternity. In those cases, the father may need to seek court assistance in proving that he is the father of the child. The court may order genetic testing as a way of resolving this issue.

It is important to note that fathers cannot become the child’s legal parent just by having the mother include their name on a birth certificate. Instead, both parents must sign an acknowledgment of paternity. Once parents file such documents with the Bureau of Vital Statistics, a court might order the father to pay child support or provide him with the right to visit or have custody of the child.

Fathers should understand that just because they prove that they are the child’s biological parent does not automatically allow them to have custody or visitation with that child. The court still looks at what is in the child’s best interests when determining these issues. Fathers who have questions regarding proving their paternity or asserting their parental rights should speak to a West Lake Hills lawyer.

Why Would a Mother Want to Prove Parentage?

In some cases, a mother may wish to prove that a man is her child’s father. There may be numerous reasons why a mother may wish to assert that a man is her baby’s parent. In some cases, the mother might seek to prove parentage to ensure that her child’s father helps support and raise that child.

When the father, or purported father, refuses to agree to sign an acknowledgment of paternity, the mother may begin an involuntary parentage adjudication in court. In this case, the purported father must appear before the proceedings or risk having the court enter a default order declaring him as a child’s legal parent. In cases where a father denies paternity, the court might order genetic testing to resolve the dispute.

Genetic tests are a relatively simple process and involve a cheek swab of the child, the father, and the mother. The laboratory then analyzes the DNA and then determines whether the man is the child’s biological father. Parents struggling with these sorts of cases should consult an attorney in West Lake Hills to discuss the implications of a paternity determination.

Speak to a West Lake Hills Paternity Attorney

Paternity is a legal issue that can be emotional for many families. Fathers who do not know whether a child is biologically theirs likely have many questions regarding their potential rights and obligations as a parent.

Individuals facing paternity-related disputes should speak to an attorney. If you are attempting to prove or deny parentage, speak to a West Lake Hills paternity lawyer today.