Paternity Actions For Unwed Parents

When an unmarried couple has a child, paternity must be established in order to establish a legal relationship between father and child. This is necessary for a variety of reasons, from health insurance and other benefits to child support and child custody. It also allows the father's name to be included on the birth certificate.

At Law Office of Michella K. Melton in McKinney, we represent fathers and mothers in paternity actions. Whether you and the other parent are still together or you have separated, we can provide the guidance you need. Paternity can be established at birth or any time during the child's life. We have more than 10 years of experience in these family law matters.

Is A DNA Test Required?

In Texas, a DNA test is not required to establish paternity. Parents can simply sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form and register it with the Vital Statistics Unit (VSU). The document becomes legally binding and makes the birth father the legal father.

While a DNA test is not required, there are situations in which one may be necessary or recommended. Because paternity is legally binding once it is established, it can be important to make certain ahead of time that the information is accurate. If a father denies paternity, there may be steps that can be taken to compel a DNA test and establish paternity. Similarly, fathers may be able to take a DNA test to prove fatherhood if the birth mother denies. Our lawyers know how to address all complexities that may arise in these cases.

Rights And Responsibilities Go Hand In Hand

It is important to know that the legal rights and responsibilities of parenthood cannot be selected a la carte. They are a package deal. Once paternity is established, the mother may have the right to receive child support, but the father will have the right to request visitation with his child. The father may receive the right to spend time with his child, but he will also be responsible for child support payments. Our attorneys will educate you about all your rights and responsibilities as an unmarried parent.

Need To Establish Paternity?

Call 214-449-1900 or send an email to schedule a meeting at our law office. We can carefully guide you through the process of establishing paternity.