Determining paternity important to best interests of child

Paternity is not an issue for most Texas couples. It may become an issue, however, if a couple splits up and the man has reason to doubt he is the child’s father. A child born to a married couple is presumed to be the husband’s unless medical evidence indicates otherwise.

Establishing paternity becomes important as it determines who is responsible for child support and shares in the child’s upbringing. Should the couple decide to divorce, the husband may contest paternity if he believes his wife was not faithful to him during their marriage. It also is important for a woman to know definitively who her baby’s father is as this entitles her to his medical and genetic information to help determine any medical problems the child may have inherited.

Both the mother and the presumed father can ask for paternity testing or challenge findings should DNA and other testing be ordered by the courts. Mistakes can be made at any time during the testing process or afterwards when the paternity report is compiled. Lab results may be tainted, or the lab may name the wrong man as the father, one who could provide proof he is sterile.

Paternity issues can be sticky issues, especially because the child’s future welfare is riding on the results. Regardless of which party wants the paternity findings, the resolution almost always starts with filing a complaint in court, which will then order the necessary testing. Because these proceedings can be emotionally charged, each spouse may want to consult a family law attorney for advice on how to proceed through the various stages of the paternity suit.

Source: Findlaw, “Challenging Paternity “, December 04, 2014