New Braunfels Paternity Lawyer
Parentage Attorney Serving Seguin, San Marcos, and Throughout South Central Texas
The birth of a child is a life-changing event for both mothers and fathers. With regard to fathers, some men impulsively sign a document without fully understanding the legal and financial consequences, while others drag their feet and allow these issues to fester and grow. Meanwhile, mothers need concrete assurances of physical help and monetary support to the greatest extent possible, as opposed to mere promises from a sometimes well-meaning father. A timely paternity action solves both these problems, benefiting mothers, fathers, and especially children.
A lawyer is an "attorney and counselor at law," and that is what you will find at The Bettersworth Law Firm. Before we recommend a course of action, we actively listen to our clients and accurately apprise them of their legal and financial rights. Then, we advocate for our clients in whatever way possible to deliver the most cost-effective solution available under the circumstances.
Establishing Paternity in Texas
The details in a paternity case are often quite overwhelming, but the overall process is relatively straightforward. There are two ways to establish paternity in the Lone Star State if the parents are unmarried:
- Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP): A mother and father may sign a voluntary AOP at any time either before or after the child's birth. The AOP establishes a child support obligation, but has no effect regarding custody and visitation; these issues require a separate court proceeding. Fathers typically have 60 days to reconsider and nullify the form before it becomes official; after that, it is difficult, though not impossible, to undo an AOP.
- Court Order: Either mothers or fathers may bring actions in civil court. If the matter is uncontested, the court will proceed directly to issues of child custody and child support. If the father contests the petition, the court nearly always orders a DNA swab test that is paid for by the parties. This test is noninvasive and practically 100 percent accurate.
A married husband and wife are nearly always presumed to be the legal parents of any children born during the marriage.
Benefits of Paternity
For both mothers and fathers, legal paternity translates to additional family stability. Once the matter is fully concluded, there is no guesswork as to the mother's right to receive child support and the father's right to participate in the child's life.
In a typical child custody arrangement, the non-custodial parent has possession of the child on every other weekend, every other holiday, most of the summer, and on designated weekday afternoons or weeknights. The child support obligation begins at 20 percent for one child and ends at 40 percent for five or more children. Judges have rather broad discretion to deviate from these norms.
A paternity action gets your family onto more secure legal footing. For prompt assistance in this area, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm at 830-606-0404. Our main office is conveniently located in New Braunfels.