Often, clients come to us with issues concerning child support, conservatorship (custody), visitation, health insurance, and other issues involving the children they share with their unmarried or married partner. More times than not though, people tend to overlook whether the man they have a child with is even the legal father of their child, and presume that because they had sex with the other person, or they are in a committed relationship, or married, that the man is automatically the father of a child. In Texas, who is the father of a child, and how that is determined is a legal issue and one that turns on very specific facts. The main benefit of determining who the actual legal father a child is that it will trigger legal obligations that may not be enforceable on a non-parent including, but not limited to: child support, health insurance, inheritance, legal responsibility, and so on.
Presumed Fathers in Texas
In Texas, a man is presumed the father of a child unless it is rebutted by filing a SAPCR (Suit affecting the parent child relationship) or by filing a denial of paternity and another person filing an acknowledgement of paternity. A man can be presumed the father of a child in several ways:
- A man is presumed the father of a child if he is married to the mother and the child is born during the marriage;
- He is married to the mother and the child is born within 300 days of the marriage to the mother or attempted marriage;
- He married the mother before the birth of the child, even if the marriage is void;
- He married the mother after the birth of the child and voluntarily did one of these 4 things;
- Lived with the child for the first two years of the child’s life and held out to others that the child was his own;
- Asserted in a record with the Vital Statistics unit;
- Voluntarily named the child’s father on the birth certificate; or
- He promised in a record to support the child as his own.
The effects of being adjudicated a father, acknowledging parentage, or being named the presumed father of a child carry significant legal ramifications, and responsibilities. If you are in a situation where you believe that parentage of your child may be an issue, contact a competent family law attorney and make sure that your rights are protected.
Disclaimer: The legal information presented herein should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. General advice should always be tested by the particular facts and circumstances of each case. Legal advice is almost always case specific. Statues, ordinances, legal procedures, case law and rules of evidence are often revised.