There are many situations in which a parent of a child may want to initiate a paternity suit. In a paternity case, a court will evaluate evidence, such as DNA evidence, to determine a child’s legal father. In Texas, any parent or presumed parent of the child can begin this process, and they have the right to be represented by a lawyer. 

If you are considering hiring an attorney to represent you in a paternity case, here are a few things to know about settling paternity matters in Texas. 

  1. The husband is usually presumed to be the father. In Texas, if a man is married to the mother of a child and that child was born during their marriage, he is typically presumed to be the father of the child unless proven otherwise by the court or agreed upon by both parents. 
  2. A paternity suit can be initiated at any time. If the father of a child is unknown, then a paternity suit can be initiated at any time, even after the child has reached adulthood. However, in most cases, a paternity case needs to be brought within the first four years after a child’s birth if there is a presumed father but paternity is questioned or needs to be confirmed. 
  3. Genetic testing determines paternity. Although genetic tests are not 100 percent certain, they are very accurate, and if a presumed father is at least 99 percent likely to be the legal parent, then a court will usually move forward with the child custody, child support, or visitation case. After genetic testing is complete, you may wait 4-6 weeks for your result, so be prepared to wait for over a month until you can know the parentage of your child with certainty. The Texas Family Code does note that a presumed father can attempt to rebut the findings of a genetic test, but only with another genetic test. 

This blog does not constitute legal advice. If you are facing a paternity issue in Texas, it is important to work with a family law attorney. We encourage you to call us at 512-580-2449 to discuss your paternity case.