Frequently Asked Questions
HOW CAN I BE LISTED AS THE FATHER ON MY BABY?S BIRTH CERTIFICATE? Under Texas law, if you were married to the mother of the child when the child was born, your name will automatically appear on the baby’s birth certificate as the father of the child. If you were not married to the mother of the child, there are two ways to have your name added to the birth certificate: 1. By voluntarily signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity form; or 2. By a court order.
I AM UNDER 18. IF I SIGN AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PATERNITY FORM, WILL THAT MAKE ME THE LEGAL FATHER OF THE CHILD? Yes. Under the Texas voluntary acknowledgment laws, there is no difference in how the government treats an adult or minor who signs an Acknowledgment of Paternity.
WHAT IF, AFTER SIGNING THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PATERNITY, I HAVE REASON TO BELIEVE I AM NOT THE FATHER? If you sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity and you later decide you may not be the father, there are ways for you to withdraw your signing of the form. However, this is most easily done within 60 days of signing by filing a Petition to Rescind. You may only file a Petition to Rescind if you have not been part of a court case concerning the child. Otherwise, you have to file in the District Court to get DNA and a declaration that you are not the father, but you will remain liable for child support accrued before the filing and you must file this within 2 years of learning information that would cause a reasonable man to question paternity.
WHAT IF I THOUGHT I WAS THE FATHER AT DIVORCE, AND LATER LEARNED I AM NOT? The Texas Legislature promulgated a new law effective September 1, 2011 that provides a man who is previously adjudicated a father may file a motion to declare paternity and terminate the parent-child relationship (assuming DNA is negative for paternity) but there is a limitation on when the Petition can be filed. The man must file the petition not later than 2 years after learning information that reasonably causes the man to question paternity. Furthermore, the law provides that even if the man ws declared a father due to fraud by the mother (she is presumed to have known) the man remains liable for child support and medical support accrued (paid or unpaid) before the petition is filed.
WHAT IF THE MOTHER WILL NOT LET ME SEE MY CHILD(REN)? This is the very reason you need Court Orders. A mother and a father are equal until a court says otherwise, but “possession is 9/10´s of the law” and that adage is true in child custody cases too. You may have rights, but the problem you face is the criminal charge of disturbing the peace if Mom does not simply let you take the kids. However, if you go to court and get an order signed by the Judge, if she says “no” she is disobeying a court order and you can enforce your visitation rights, hold her in contempt, or even use her actions as grounds to modify your court orders and take custody.