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Paternity Defined – Texas Family Code

Under the Texas Family Code (Tex. Fam. Code) a “Parent” is defined as the mother, a man presumed to be the father, a man legally determined to be the father, a man who has been adjudicated to be the father by a court of competent jurisdiction, a man who acknowledged his paternity under applicable law, or an adoptive mother or father. 

The father-child relationship is established between a man and a child by:

  1. an unrebutted presumption of the man’s paternity of the child under Section 160.204;
  2. an effective acknowledgment of paternity by the man under Subchapter D, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or successfully challenged;
  3. an adjudication of the man’s paternity;
  4. the adoption of the child by the man; or
  5. the man’s consenting to assisted reproduction by his wife under Subchapter H, which resulted in the birth of a child.

Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 160, otherwise known as the Uniform Parentage Act, states that a man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

  1. he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage;
  2. he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;
  3. he married the mother of the child before the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, even if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage or before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;
  4. he married the mother of the child after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, regardless of whether the marriage is or could be declared invalid, he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:
    a)     the assertion is in a record filed with the bureau of vital statistics;
    b)    he is voluntarily named as the child’s father; or
    c)     he promised in a record to support the child as his own; or
  5. during the first two years of the child’s life, he continuously resided in the household in which the child resided and he represented to others that the child was his own.

A presumption of paternity established under this section may be rebutted only by:

  1. an adjudication under Subchapter G; or
  2. the filing of a valid denial of paternity by a presumed father in conjunction with the filing by another person of a valid acknowledgment of paternity.

A presumed father of a child may sign a denial of paternity.  However, the denial is valid only if:

  1. an acknowledgment of paternity signed or otherwise authenticated by another man is filed under Section 160.305 of the Texas Family Code;
  2. the denial is in a record and is signed or otherwise authenticated under penalty of perjury; and
  3. the presumed father has not previously:
    a)     acknowledged paternity of the child, unless the previous acknowledgment has been rescinded under Section 160.307 of the Texas Family Code or successfully challenged under Section 160.308 of the Texas Family Code; or
    b)    been adjudicated to be the father of the child.

The rules for adjudication of paternity are as follows: 

  1. The paternity of a child having a presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated father may be disproved only by admissible results of genetic testing excluding that man as the father of the child or identifying another man as the father of the child.
  2. Unless the results of genetic testing are admitted to rebut other results of genetic testing, the man identified as the father of a child under section 160.505 shall be adjudicated as being the father of the child. 
  3. Unless the results of genetic testing are admitted to rebut other results of genetic testing, the a man excluded as the father of a child by genetic testing shall be adjudicated as not being the father of the child. 
  4. If the court finds that genetic testing under Section 160.505 does not identify or exclude a man as the father of a child, the court may not dismiss the proceeding.  In that event, the results of genetic testing and other evidence are admissible to adjudicate the issue of paternity.

Under Tex. Fam. Code Sec. 160.608, if there is an established relationship between the presumed father and the child, the court may deny genetic testing and adjudicate the presumed father as the father of the child. 

In In re Shockley, 123 S.W.3d 642, 652-53 (Tex. App.–El Paso 2003, no pet.) the court ruled a mother was equitably estopped from litigating a child’s parentage due to the fact that she refused to consent to DNA testing in prior years and brought suit for parentage more than four years after the birth of a child to question the parentage of the father.  The mother then consented to DNA testing that showed another man to be the father of the child, but the court refused to recognize the DNA tests and her claim was barred.

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
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Texas’ Law for Mistaken Paternity: Texas SB785

We hear a lot about dead-beat dads, or parents who do not pay their child support obligations. Now it is time for “fathers” or men who have been paying child support for children who are not their biological children to assert their rights.

Texas passed a new Paternity law, Texas SB785, effective May 13, 2011, which permits men who have been ordered to pay child support, without genetic testing, to request genetic testing in order to determine whether they are the genetic parent of the child.

After September 1, 2012, a man must file a petition to determine genetic parentage no later than the first anniversary of the date on which he becomes aware of facts indicating that he is not the child’s genetic father.

In order to file for relief under this law, the man must have signed an acknowledgement of paternity or failed to contest paternity in the previous proceeding because of a mistaken belief that he was the child’s father based on misrepresentations that led him to that conclusion.

If the man knew he was not the father at the time he signed the acknowledgement of paternity or the previous court order, the new law does not apply.

If the genetic testing concludes that the man is not the child’s genetic father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship and terminating the man’s obligation for future child support.

This order, however, does not affect the man’s obligations for child support or child support arrearages accrued before the date of the order. However, the accrued obligations are not enforceable by contempt proceedings.

Even if the parent-child relationship is terminated, the man may request the court to order period of possession or access to the child following the termination. The court may order periods of possession or access to the child only if the court determines that denial of possession or access would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being. The law directs the court to focus on the child’s well-being, not on the man’s desire to continue seeing the child.

If you have been paying child support due to a mistaken belief that you were the father, the time to act is now. A man must file the petition to determine genetic parentage no later than the first anniversary of the date on which he becomes aware of facts indicating the he is not the child’s genetic father. Contact an attorney now!

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
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New Paternity Prenatal Testing Available Before Birth of Child

Time is about up on the Amnesty Provision of the New Texas Mistaken Paternity Law: September 1, 2012!

Think you are the “Father” before the birth of the child and would like to find out using a new procedure? Now you are in luck! A new blood test has just become available which can determine paternity as early as the eighth week of pregnancy without an invasive procedure that could potentially cause a miscarriage. This new test requires only blood samples from the pregnant woman and the potential father. The price of the prenatal testing is currently around $1500.00.

What does Texas Family Code 160.502 say about this genetic testing before the birth of the child? A court shall order a child on prima fascia proof and other designated individuals to submit to genetic testing if the request is made by a party to determine parentage.  If a request for genetic testing of a child is made before the birth of the child, the court or support enforcement agency may not order utero testing. If two or more men are subject to court-ordered genetic testing, the testing may be ordered concurrently or sequentially.

Now it is time for “fathers” or men who have been paying child support for children who are not their biological children to assert their rights.

Texas new law, Texas SB785, permits men on prima fascia proof who have been ordered to pay child support, without genetic testing, to request genetic testing in order to determine whether they are the genetic parent of the child.

But the clock is ticking.   If you suspect that you are paying child support for a child who is not your biological child, you should file the petition before September 1, 2012.

After September 1, 2012, a man must file a petition to determine genetic parentage no later than the first anniversary of the date on which he becomes aware of facts indicating that he is not the child’s genetic father.

In order to file for relief under this new law, the man must have signed an acknowledgement of paternity or failed to contest paternity in the previous proceeding because of a mistaken belief that he was the child’s father based on misrepresentations that led him to that conclusion.

If the man had knowledge he was not the father at the time he signed the acknowledgement of paternity or the previous court order, the new law does not apply.

If the genetic testing concludes that the man is not the child’s genetic father, the court shall render an order terminating the parent-child relationship and terminating the man’s obligation for future child support. The law further provides that he may not be held in contempt by the court for arrearage if the test is negative.

The new order, however, does not affect the man’s obligations for child support or child support arrearages accrued before the date of the order.  However, the accrued obligations are not enforceable by contempt proceedings.

If the court order states that the father listed on the birth certificate is not the biological father and the information can be removed from the birth record, then the birth certificate can be revised as well.

Even if the parent-child relationship is terminated, the man may request the court to order periods of possession or access to the child following the termination.  The court may order periods of possession or access to the child only if the court determines that denial of possession or access would significantly impair the child’s physical health or emotional well-being.  The law directs the court to focus on the child’s well-being, not on the man or the mother’s wishes with regard to the man’s desire to continue seeing the child.

If you have been paying child support due to a mistaken belief that you were the father, the time to act is now.  Remember the clock is ticking! If you suspect that you are paying child support for a child who is not your biological child, you should file the petition before September 1, 2012. If you wait to file for relief, you may be barred!  Contact an attorney now! 

 

 

By Nacol Law Firm | Paternity
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Please contact father’s rights Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol, or father’s rights Dallas Attorney Julian Nacol with the Nacol Law Firm P.C., for legal insight to your rights as a father. Both attorney Mark Nacol, and attorney Julian Nacol , provide counsel in the area of family law including divorce, father’s rights, interstate jurisdiction, child support, child custody, visitation, paternity, parent alienation, modifications, property division, asset division and more. Attorney Mark A. Nacol is board certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Our attorneys at The Nacol Law Firm P.C. serve clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Prosper, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.

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