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Cleburne Paternity Lawyer

Whenever a family has to deal with disputes, it can take a toll on everyone. This is especially true when the court has to get involved. Issues with paternity affect both the parents and the children. A Cleburne paternity lawyer can help you resolve these issues quickly so you can go through the process and return to your life with your family. 

Cleburne Paternity Lawyer

A Family Law Firm You Can Really Trust

At The Law Firm of William A. Walsh, I understand the importance of family. Family legal issues can have a significant effect on those involved, both emotionally and financially. With my extensive legal background, I can provide you with the legal counsel that you need. I can advocate for your rights and the rights of your family.

I know that paternity issues are critical, but they can also be delicate, and the law can be complicated. As a family rights attorney, I am committed to seeking a straightforward solution for your case. I can discuss your options and potential outcomes, giving your case the attention it requires.

Paternity in Texas

Simply put, paternity is fatherhood. The law distinguishes between a biological father and a legal father. While all children have a father by biology, not everyone has a legal father. A legal father is established when a couple “establishes paternity.” In Texas, a husband is automatically the legal father to children born within the marriage, with his name on the birth certificate.

If the couple is not married when their child comes into the world, the child will have a biological father but will not have a legal father, at least until parentage is established. There are a number of ways to establish paternity in the state. Once established, the father is declared the legal father, and he will have certain legal rights over the child.

Establishing Paternity

The state establishes paternity in one of two ways — it can be voluntary, for example, by signing the paternity acknowledgment form or involuntarily by court order.

When both parents agree on paternity, they can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This can be done in the hospital right after the child’s birth. The parents can also complete the form at a later date, but it will likely come with a fee to change the certificate of birth after adding the father’s name.

You can receive this form in a number of places, including the hospital, the attorney general’s office of child support, the Vital Statistics Unit, or the local birth registrar. This form is mailed and filed at the Vital Statistics Unit. After filing, the child’s father’s name can be put on the certificate of birth.

If the parents cannot agree on paternity, it can be done by court order. This is referred to as an involuntary process because someone has disputed paternity and thus has required the court’s involvement. The mother, father, child, or state (if the child receives assistance) can petition for adjudicating parentage in the child’s county of residence.

If either parent doubts the paternity of the father, a DNA test can be performed. With the DNA test, both parents and the child are swabbed inside their cheek. If it is determined that the alleged father is indeed biologically the father of the child, the court can, by order, make the biological father the legal dad. Then, he will be put on the certificate of birth and given certain rights and responsibilities in regard to the child under the law.

Rights and Benefits for Establishing Paternity

Paternity is about more than naming a father for a child. Paternity comes with its own set of rights, benefits, and responsibilities. Some of these include:

  • Child support. Child support is not just for the father. Once the couple establishes paternity, a child can receive financial support from both parents.
  • Rights to inheritance. The child has a right to inherit certain things from the father, such as property and benefits.
  • Medical benefits. The child may be entitled to health benefits from the father, such as health insurance under the father’s policy.
  • Access to information. The child can have access to certain information from their father, such as medical history and other necessary information.
  • Financial support. The father has both the responsibility and rights associated with providing financial support and other expenses for the child, including basic needs and healthcare.
  • Custody and visitation. Once they establish paternity, the father can seek visitation rights and legal custody of the child.
  • Decision-making. The legal father of the child can be involved in making decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including religious affiliation, education, and healthcare.
  • Emotional support. Establishing custody allows the father to be emotionally involved in the child’s life, providing relational support for the child. This bond can be a benefit to all parties involved.
  • The mother is given the benefit of sharing the parental load.
  • The mother is also given the benefit of sharing the financial load that comes with parenting.

Paternity Legal Disputes

Legal disputes over paternity in Cleburne can happen for a number of reasons. Many of them include child support. However, refusing to acknowledge paternity will not absolve a father from paying child support. Legally, both parents are responsible for financially supporting the child, whether the parents are married or not.

If the parents are unmarried and the father refuses to sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity form, the court can order that paternity be established as well as his requirements for child support. The court order will outline the amount of child support that must be paid. Disputes sometimes later arise over the amount of support being paid and the support orders being enforced.

Other disputes arising from paternity involve the father’s rights. Many of these include child custody. These disputes often arise from arrangements regarding visitation and the details of custody. This means that while the couple may agree on the amount of time spent, they may disagree on how the time is being split. For example, a couple may decide that the child spends two days a week with the father but may disagree on what days those are.

Disputes regarding custody include disagreements over both legal and physical custody. Legal custody is the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as education and healthcare. Physical custody refers to where the child will spend most of their time or where the child will primarily live (or whether the time will be equally split between both parents).

Disputes can also arise from visitation. In cases where one parent may not have some form of custody, a visitation schedule can be in order. Some parents have regularly scheduled visitation, such as certain days of the week, summers, and/or holidays. Some parents have flexible visitation schedules if one or both parents have unpredictable schedules.

Others may have supervised visitation, especially in cases where one parent is concerned about the well-being of the child in the other parent’s presence. In extreme cases, a parent may fight for no visitation at all. This is common in cases involving domestic violence or substance abuse.

A father may also assert his right to be involved in a child’s life if he only later finds out that he is the father. For instance, if a mother withheld that the alleged father is indeed biologically the father and he found out years later, he may still be granted legal rights over the child, even though he was previously uninvolved.

Paternity and Adoption

There have also been disputes regarding adoption. These disputes can sometimes be tricky. For instance, if the mother wants to put the child up for adoption, the father has a right to dispute this claim.

However, generally speaking, the court may require proof that the father has been involved or at least attempted to be involved in the child’s life, upbringing, and decision-making. If the father’s presence has been nonexistent, he may be denied claims to interfere with the decision to place the child in adoption.

What to Do When Paternity Issues Arise

If you are suspected to be the father, but you are not 100% sure about paternity, it is recommended that you do not sign anything until you are certain. If you sign a paternity acknowledgment form, you are legally responsible for the child.

You may also be responsible for making payments to the mother. You may be released from this if it is later determined that you are not biologically the father. However, this will require more time and money on your part.

If you are the mother, it is highly recommended that you are truthful to the man who is biologically the father about his paternity or that you are truthful in letting any current partners know they are not the biological parent. If it is determined that the non-biological father signed the certificate of birth, unaware that he was not biologically the father, an extensive legal battle can ensue as a result. This can also have a negative effect on the child.

Paternity and Child Support

Child support in Texas is like most other states. It is determined by the parent’s net income. If a couple was married at the time the child was born and then split, and the mother seeks child support, she does not have to prove paternity to do so. With unmarried couples, paternity must first be established before a mother seeks child support.

However, paternity does not let the mother off the hook for financially supporting the child, as both parents are responsible for their share of financial support, regardless of who the custodial parent is. Child support, in a legal sense, is generally given to the custodial parent to use for the child.

Child support issues typically involve disputes regarding the paternity of the child. Even in cases of marriage, a father can dispute the paternity if he reasonably believes he is not the father. In these cases, evidence will have to be provided that the husband is not the father, such as DNA test results proving so, evidence that the father was not near the mother at the time of conception, or evidence that the father is either sterile or impotent.


Q: How Can Paternity Be Proven?

A: In Texas, paternity can be proven in two ways, specifically in the case of unmarried parents. It can be proven voluntarily with both parents signing a form acknowledging paternity or involuntarily by court order. With a court order, a DNA test will be ordered to test both parents and the child to determine if the alleged father is indeed biologically the father.

Q: How Do I Dispute Paternity?

A: You can dispute paternity by obtaining a DNA test that will test both parents and the child to establish paternity. You can do this on your own or file with the court. You can also file a motion with the court, especially in cases of married couples, to prove that the alleged father is not biologically the father, such as in cases of impotence.

Q: Can You Sue for False Paternity?

A: A father can file a claim with the court for false paternity in Texas if it is determined that he is not biologically the father of the child. In these cases, the father will likely not receive compensation for previous payments, but he will likely be awarded the cancellation of responsibilities to the child, including financial responsibilities.

Q: What Are the Consequences of Establishing Paternity?

A: Establishing paternity in Texas comes with its own set of consequences, benefits, rights, and responsibilities. These include a shared financial and decision-making responsibility for the child, rights to custody and visitation for the father, and access to medical benefits for the child. The child can also have an emotional relationship with the father.

Contact The Law Firm of William A. Walsh Today

If you have a dispute regarding paternity, you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact The Law Firm of William A. Walsh today for more information.
  • Testimonials Five Stars
    My experience with Mr. William Walsh has been nothing less than extraordinary. From the telephone conversation, our first consultation, to the proceedings, Mr. Walsh was very professional in every aspect. He treated me with understanding to my situation, demonstrated compassion, very honest, very meticulous, and performed with great care and completeness. You and your situation are his motivating force. He was very methodical in every aspect.

    - Bob Coleman

  • Testimonials Five Stars
    People need a family lawyer. I cannot express how good this lawyer is. Very highly recommended. You will definitely get your money’s worth and then some with Mr. Walsh. Very highly recommended! Best of luck!

    - Gabriel Pena



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