I represent mothers and fathers in cases involving paternity testing, child support, and establishing the father’s parent-child relationship with his son or daughter. If you have a legal problem involving any aspect of the paternity process, contact me in El Paso for reliable advice.
Paternity suits, or actions to determine parentage as they’re called in Texas, can be initiated in any of several ways. A woman might file the action in order to prove that a particular man is the father of her child. The state or a county might file the petition in order to hold a particular man responsible for support of the child. A man might bring the action either to assert his status as the child’s father, or to disprove his presumed paternity. I can represent either parent to a Texas parentage action.
Paternity is normally proved by genetic testing, which today is extremely reliable when properly performed. A man defending an action to determine parentage must submit to genetic testing by law, and his refusal to do so can be punished as contempt of court. If a man denies paternity but is found through parentage testing to be the child’s father after all, the court may impose attorney’s fees and court costs against him.
Once paternity is established, the father is liable for the financial support of his child under the Texas Child Support Guidelines, as well as all of the state and federal child support enforcement mechanisms. The court can also make its child support order retroactive.
In order for the adjudicated father to formalize his right to regular access to his child, however, he must file a Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relations (SAPCR), which presents a parenting plan for establishing regular visitation. By obtaining a court order recognizing his relationship with his child, the father will have a protected right to participate fully in his child’s life.
For the advice of an experienced West Texas paternity lawyer, contact me in El Paso at the Law Office of Douglas C. Smith.