Paternity Lawyer in Austin, TX
When a child is born out of wedlock, there may be questions about child support, custody, and visitation rights and responsibilities. Paternity testing can clarify parental rights and allow the parties involved to sort out responsibilities for the child’s welfare and upkeep.
The Austin, Texas, family law attorneys of Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., can serve as your advocate in a paternity lawsuit or a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR). We are here to provide all the legal guidance that you’ll need to navigate issues related to a paternity determination. Our family law attorneys will seek to ensure your interests are protected throughout the process.
For more than 50 years, the attorneys at our firm have provided compassionate and knowledgeable legal representation to families and single parents in Central Texas. Contact Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. at (512) 476-4873 today to schedule a consultation. Once we understand your unique situation and needs, we’ll be able to help you make informed decisions about your next steps.
Why Hire a Paternity Lawyer?
When an unmarried couple has a child, the biological father does not have legal rights to the child until paternity is established.
In disputes about who fathered a child, a court may order the alleged father to take a genetic test to establish paternity. A genetic test can establish paternity and or mistaken paternity. When decisions are being made about a child’s paternity and the legal father’s potential responsibility to that child, it is essential to have the counsel of an attorney who has your interests in mind.
If you are pursuing a paternity claim, you will need professional assistance to file a legal claim and then deal with custody and support petitions. Remember, once paternity is established, the legal father of a child has a right to be a part of the child’s life and responsibility for the child’s support and upbringing.
If you have been ordered to pay child support and you believe you are not the child’s biological father, you should speak with a paternity lawyer about how to proceed. An attorney at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. can help you obtain testing to prove a case of mistaken paternity and file a petition to terminate a parent-child relationship.
Decisions about custody, support payments, and visitation rights will have a lasting impact on everyone involved. It’s important to have trusted legal guidance.
Why Choose Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. For Your Paternity Case?
An experienced family law attorney can anticipate the issues that are likely to arise in a paternity case and help you make thoughtful decisions with your future in mind. To ensure that your rights are protected, you must have an experienced attorney advocating for you on either side of a paternity case.
Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. has been serving people in the Austin area for 60 years. Our attorneys have litigation experience and will be ready to stand up for you in court.
Our legal team takes great pride in treating our clients like family. You and your desires for the outcome of your case will always be treated with the utmost respect and consideration if you choose to work with our firm.
How a Skilled Paternity Lawyer Can Benefit Your Case
Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. can represent your interests from either side of a paternity case. We can help you establish paternity and then negotiate or litigate matters relating to child custody and support. We want you to know that when a child’s welfare is at stake, we will work to ensure that the case outcome serves the child’s best interests. A judge who is assigned the case will do the same.
In the best-case scenario requiring the court to establish paternity, the couple can negotiate and submit an “agreed paternity order” for the court to ratify. A judge will issue a court order stating who the father of the child is. The judge can ratify a previously agreed-to statement of each parent’s specific legal rights about custody, visitation, child support, and medical support.
If you and the other parent can collaborate on an agreed paternity order, each of you should work with your attorney to consider what you want in the agreement and what compromises you might be willing to come to an agreement. Your attorney can help you work through the issues and submit a final agreed paternity order to the court.
When an agreement is not possible, a second option is to file a paternity case, which asks a judge to establish paternity, and a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), which asks a judge to grant your petition for child custody, child support, medical support, and visitation allowances for your child.
Our firm can assist you by helping you prepare and file an agreed paternity order or a paternity case. In either approach, our legal team will keep you fully informed of your options and protect your best interests as you proceed. In court, we will present your arguments and work aggressively to rebut any allegations against you or your legal assertions. We will do everything legally possible to obtain an outcome that meets your goals.
Determining Parentage in Texas
Paternity is legal fatherhood. Parents have legally established rights and responsibilities pertaining to their children. Each parent has a duty to support the child, including providing the child with clothing, food, shelter, medical and dental care, and education.
If a couple is married when a child is born, the male spouse is legally assumed to be the father of the child. If the parents are not married, establishing paternity is a required step before asking the court to order child support, custody, or parenting time.
Paternity Not in Question
If you and the other parent of your child are not married but agree on the identity of the child’s father, we can help you complete an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) legal form. An AOP states under penalty of perjury that the male signatory to the form is the child’s genetic father.
When the completed AOP is filed with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit, the father identified on it becomes the child’s legal father with all the rights and duties of a parent. However, if the child’s mother is married to someone else when the child is born (or the child is born within 300 days of a divorce), then the husband (or ex-husband) is the child’s presumed father. Then, an AOP form cannot be used to establish paternity unless the presumed father also signs a Denial of Paternity (DOP).
Paternity Not Established
If paternity is in dispute, either parent of the child may ask the court to establish paternity and file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR) to establish the father’s rights and duties.
Any individual thought to be the genetic father of the child should begin by obtaining a paternity test, or the court will order a paternity test for an individual named in a lawsuit.
A paternity test requires a cheek swab and a DNA test, which can determine the biological father with 99% accuracy. A private healthcare provider, a clinic, a local Child Support office, or the court may conduct the test. Most paternity test results are available within 4-6 weeks.
If a child’s parents are not married, the biological father does not have legal rights to his child until paternity is established.
A man who questions his biological relationship with a child may file a petition asking the court to terminate the parent-child relationship. The court must hold a pretrial hearing, and if the man meets the legal requirements, the court will order the man and child to submit to genetic testing.
If genetic testing shows that the legal father is not the biological father of the child, the court will terminate the parent-child relationship and support obligation.
Consult with an Expert Lawyer in Family Law – Recover The Control!
Whether you are a mother seeking to hold a father responsible for their child or you are a biological father who wants to establish a right to be involved in your child’s life, a paternity lawyer with the legal team at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. can assist. We will work to see that your desires and your child’s best interests are honored in the resolution of your paternity case. Our team will stand up for your rights as we negotiate an agreed paternity order or if we must litigate a lawsuit on your behalf.