Families come in all shapes and sizes these days. Sometimes parents in Texas are not married at the time of their child’s birth, and some may have broken up during the pregnancy. In such situations, if the child’s mother wants to seek child support or if the child’s father wants to seek visitation rights with the child, the parents will need to establish paternity. Two ways to do this is through an Acknowledgement of Paternity or a court-ordered paternity test.
Acknowledgement of Paternity
An Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) is a legal document that establishes legal paternity when a child’s parents are not married to one another. Signing an AOP is voluntary. Note that minors can sign an AOP without parental consent. AOPs can be signed at the hospital when the child is born, or later at an AOP-certified entity.
Court-ordered paternity testing
Sometimes a mother and purported father are not in agreement about who the child’s biological father is. In such a case, the Office of the Attorney General can file a petition with the court to establish paternity. In this case, the court may order the purported father to take a DNA test. This generally involves a simple cheek swab of both the parents and the child, in court, at a clinic or at an area Child Support office. DNA tests have been shown to be 99% accurate.
Learn more about child support and child custody in Texas
If a child’s parents are unmarried, they will need to establish paternity before the mother can seek child support or the father can seek visitation rights. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about child custody and child support in Texas are encouraged to explore our firm’s website for further information.