I am not sure if I am the father of my child. Do I need a lawyer?

Are you married and your wife has been unfaithful and now she is pregnant?  Did your ex-girlfriend call you and tell you that she had a child and it is yours?  If you are not sure that you are the father, you absolutely need an attorney.

How this issue can arise and what the law says:

If you are filing for divorce for a series of reasons, namely the adultery and resulting pregnancy, you want to be sure that you are not adjudicated the father of this child.  Reason being, in Texas all children born during the marriage are assumed to be products of the marriage and therefore, you are the presumed father.  So, you will need to make sure that if you have any doubts that you plead for a paternity test.  If it comes back negative and you are not the father, you will want to ensure that you are not ordered to be the father of this child.  Many men fall into the trap of not being the father, but the order states otherwise and therefore they are on the hook for child support for a child that is not biologically theirs.

Also, the Office of the Attorney General can file a case claiming you are the father. If they do so, then there will be a request for a paternity suit within the petition to adjudicate your parentage.  You are faced with either taking the DNA test or signing a waiver to that DNA test and acknowledging you are the father.  However, you want to be sure and so you take the DNA test.  In this type of case, we would want to ensure that we have a crosspetition on file against the mother that includes the appropriate requested relief that you are seeking (ex. visitation).   If you are the father, the case would proceed forward as such and if you are not the father, then the case would be dismissed against you.

However, you might have been served with a suit affecting a parent child relationship by the child’s mother.  This is a case where she is saying you are dad and you should pay child support, health insurance, etc.  When faced with this type of case, if there is any question regarding paternity or if you just want to make sure we will file a counterpetition asking for a DNA test.  You will be required to pay the fee and that depends upon which facility you attend to provide your sample.  Once you have those results back, then you will proceed forward with a temporary orders hearing if you are the father.  If you are not the father, same as before, we would ask that the case be dismissed against you.

What Should I do?

In all scenarios, you must file appropriate pleadings to ensure that your rights are protected.  You must know how to address legal issues that might arise.  Therefore, as discussed, it is essential that you hire an attorney who can assist you throughout the entire process.

We deal with these types of cases all of the time.   Do not go in this alone.  Guest & Gray offers consultations for all cases involving issues of paternity.  Please call us to schedule your appointment today.