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Paternity Actions for Issues of Child Custody, Child Support

Paternity actions are lawsuits which will determine whether a named individual is the father of a child or not. This may be an important factor in a divorce case where the presumed father of the child or children denies paternity to avoid being made to pay child support. Alternatively, it may also be used to counter the mother’s claim that the husband is not the biological father to deny him custodial rights to the child or children. In either case, the paternity is in question and must be resolved before child custody and child support awards are finalized. This is done through paternity actions.

The Texas Family Code outlines the rules that govern paternity actions. In cases where the presumed father has not completed an Acknowledgement of Paternity at the time of the child’s birth, the child is then considered without a legal father. This is significant because it bars the child not only from legal security but also from financial benefits from the government. If there is no legal father but there is a presumed father, there is a statute of limitations of 4 years from the child’s birth for a paternity action to be brought against a third party. If paternity is proven, the third party is liable for child support and has custodial rights. If there is no presumed father, the statute of limitations for paternity actions does not apply.

Paternity actions can be complicated when the alleged biological father refuses to take the tests that will prove or disprove paternity. Establishing paternity through DNA testing involves a number of civil rights which makes it tricky to circumvent successfully. A lawyer in Texas who is experienced in bringing paternity actions to a head is the ideal choice for legal representation.

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