Houston, Texas, Paternity Attorney

When a child is born to parents who are not married to each other, it is necessary to file a paternity suit in order to legally establish (to "adjudicate") the relationship between the child's biological father and the child. This suit is often titled a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage. Although the Petition to Adjudicate Parentage is an Original Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship (SAPCR), the suit includes the request to adjudicate the parent-child relationship between the biological father and the child.

In most instances, the court will require genetic (DNA) testing in order to make certain that the alleged biological father of the child is in fact the child's father. Paternity cases can be particularly difficult if the parties have not known each other for very long and may have very little in common, and are now bound together as parents who must find a way to co-parent their child and address the child's financial needs over the course of many years.

As with all SAPCRs, every paternity case must, in addition to adjudicating parentage, address the needs of the child, by entering orders for:

  • Conservatorship (custody issues)
  • Rights and duties of the parents (by whom and how decisions concerning the child will be made)
  • Possession and access to the child (a graduated visitation schedule for a child under 3, and in most instances, a standard possession order, when the child is 3 years of age), supervised visitation
  • Support of the child (child support and medical support)
  • Retroactive child support
  • Payment of pre- and post-natal expenses of mother and child

We believe it is important for family law attorneys handling paternity cases to be experienced, and not only understand and appreciate what is required from a purely legal standpoint but also understand and appreciate the personal and emotional aspects of the relationship between the unmarried parents. A good family law attorney provides a valuable service in helping the client deal with the emotional and financial responsibilities of being a single parent, particularly when being a parent, and in particular a single parent, is something neither party may have expected or desired.

If you are not married and are pregnant, or are facing the prospect of being named in a paternity suit, we are here to help. We can help you understand what is involved and can help guide you through the process. We encourage you to call and schedule an appointment to discuss your specific problems and needs.