Paternity testing in Texas -what to know
It is extremely important for a father to establish his paternity in Texas. Without doing so, a child may not be entitled to many essential benefits. Determining the genetic identity of a baby’s father is easy thanks to DNA paternity testing.
Texas law automatically establishes paternity when the parents are married to each other. This means that the husband is the legal father and that his name will be on the birth certificate. However, if the parents are not married, then Texas law says that the child does not have a legal father unless or until paternity is established. Once this occurs, the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate, and the father will also be privy to certain rights and obligations with respect to the child.
Paternity may be established in Texas either voluntarily or involuntarily. The voluntary establishment of paternity means that both parents agree that the man is the biological father of the child. They make this fact known by filling out and signing a document known as an “Acknowledgment of Paternity.” Frequently, this document is obtained and completed at the hospital at the time of the baby’s birth. However, it can also be completed at a later date. Once the form is filed with the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin, the father is recognized as the baby’s legal father.
A court proceeding is necessary to establish paternity on an involuntary basis. Typically, the court intervenes because one or the other of the parents disputes the paternity of the child. The process begins with the filing of a “Petition to Adjudicate Parentage.” The opposing party is required to respond to the petition and make a court appearance. If that party does not show up in court, then the court issues a default order that declares the man the child’s legal father.
Regardless of whether paternity is being established through voluntary or involuntary means, DNA testing can settle an endless number of questions. Because of its 99.9 percent accuracy rating, DNA paternity testing is relied on by courts across Texas to identify genetic fathers. This testing is frequently conducted through the use of a simple cheek swab. Samples are collected from the mother, child and alleged father for testing. It is also possible to determine who the father is with prenatal paternity testing. Either way, definitive results are available in only a matter of days.
When a Texas paternity test will be used in a legal court proceeding, it is essential for certain chain-of-custody practices to be observed. Using an AABB certified laboratory ensures that these practices are strictly observed and that the test results will stand up as evidence in a Texas court of law.