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How can I establish paternity so I can petition for custody here in Texas?

| Jun 2, 2021 | Family Law |

Texas is like most states in that it doesn’t afford married and unmarried fathers the same rights. While Texas law automatically considers a married husband and wife as the legal parents of any children born to them, unmarried fathers are treated differently. Single dads must first establish their paternity before receiving their parental rights, which may entitle them to petition the court for custody. 

There are three methods fathers can utilize to establish paternity in Texas. Read on to learn more.

Signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity

One option moms and dads can pursue to establish a father’s paternity is for both of them to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP). Parents can do this at the hospital where the child is born or at a vital statistics office. 

Requesting a court order

Another option that parents can pursue in establishing a single dad’s paternity is to have a Texas family law judge sign off on a court order. Dads generally agree to their paternity and attest that they understand that they gain a right to petition for custody, visitation or support when pursuing this option.

DNA testing

A third option for establishing paternity is most apt to be used by dads when moms dispute paternity. You will need to complete DNA testing to confirm your paternity and submit it to court. They’ll then enter an order bestowing your parental rights upon you.

Complications in establishing paternity and securing custody may exist

Navigating paternity and petitioning for child custody can both be involved processes. An attorney can help navigate you through both of these processes so that you can fully exercise your parental rights.