Paternity is established by either court order or signing an affidavit. You do not need to establish Paternity if you were already married. Usually, when a child is born, the father establishes paternity by signing an Affidavit of Paternity at the hospital. In cases where the father is not present or estranged from the mother, the father doesn’t get to sign the affidavit.
On the father’s side of the coin, this namely presents problems with withheld visitation by the mother. It also presents problems for the mother in the form of voluntary child support payments, but that can be solved by the mother by either getting the state involved or hiring her own attorney.
Paternity and parentage cases are essentially the same thing to everyone but for lawyers and judges. Knowing whether to file a paternity case or a parentage case is critical, so be careful to make sure you get it right.
As indicated earlier, a parentage case is usually brought by the mother or father. The mother can also get the state to file if she gets on welfare. The No. 1 reason the mother wants to file a paternity case is to get an additional paycheck.
Those business owners or entrepreneurial professionals often see women who think they are rich and thus see an opportunity to cash in. If the paternity is disputed, a DNA sample is required. Wait times for the results can vary.
Almost a decade ago, I had a professional client who made the mistake of not insisting on a DNA test when the child was born He thought for sure the child was his child. At the time, he and the mother were talking about getting married. Naturally, he did not want to offend her so he did not request a DNA test. The couple split a few months after birth and they never got married.
He paid child support and exercised regular visitation. When the child grew up to be five years old he began to question whether the child was even his so he decided to get a DNA test without telling the mother. When he got the DNA test, he was stunned. The child was not his. He went to court and although the court was sympathetic to his plight and his story, the court still ruled against him.
This guy has paid another $68,580 in child support to a woman for a child that wasn’t even his. Being a woman, it’s easy to answer this question, but not so for a man. I know this is cynical, but at the end of the day, there is no way you can really ever know. Get the DNA test before you sign the affidavit.
The Engel Law Group, P.S. has decades of experience handling parentage cases. Paternity issues are highly emotional and often painful. If you’d like to see how we can help you get custody or visitation of your child, set up a consultation by calling our office. When we meet we’ll determine the best course of action and give you a road map for getting there.
Do you have specific questions about paternity in Dallas County? Contact the Engel Law Group, P.S. to arrange a private consultation.