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Suits To Determine Parentage
Determining parentage, who is the mother or father of the child, is often the first step in many family law proceedings. Parentage, in the case of a man, can be based on one of three prongs: it can be presumed, acknowledged or adjudicated. Until one of these three prongs is established, a man is an alleged father. A presumed or acknowledged father generally has four years to rebut a parent-child relationship, which is often done through genetic testing (DNA). An alleged father, on the other hand, can file a suit to determine parentage at any time.
A man is presumed to be the father if one of several circumstances exist, including if:
- He is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage OR before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated.
- He continuously resided in the household in which the child resided for the first two years of the child’s life AND represented to others that the child was his own.
- He married the mother of the child after the child’s birth, he voluntarily asserted paternity of the child, and he is voluntarily named on the child’s birth certificate.
A man can acknowledge paternity as well, by completing and filing an acknowledgement of paternity (AOP). An AOP, however, can’t establish parentage if there is a presumed father, unless the presumed father files a denial of his presumed paternity.
There are many more potential wrinkles involved in determining or challenging parentage. Given that parentage is such a pivotal issue, I urge you to speak to a Tyler family law attorney about any concerns you have.
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