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What Are the Grounds for Paternal Testing?

 Posted on February 28, 2024 in Family Law

Collin County family lawyerDetermining paternity is an important legal matter with implications for child support, custody, inheritance, and more. In Texas, there are several grounds by which a court may order genetic testing to establish paternity. A Texas lawyer can help determine when testing may be in your best interest.

Contested Paternity

The most common reason for ordering a paternity test is when paternity is actively contested or denied. If a presumed father challenges paternity or an alleged father denies he is biologically related to the child, the court has the authority to require testing. This helps resolve doubts over the identity of the legal father.

Typically, the mother, father, or a governmental entity like the Office of the Attorney General may file a suit requesting the court settle the question of paternity. Genetic testing provides a definitive scientific answer when paternity is unclear or disputed.

Divorce, Custody, and Child Support Disputes

Paternity tests may also be ordered when custody, visitation, or child support are contested during a divorce or parental rights case. If paternity has not already been legally established, determining the biological father is important for deciding parental rights and support obligations.

Even if both parents originally agreed on paternity, doubts may later arise, warranting court-ordered genetic testing. This provides certainty when making vital rulings regarding the child’s best interests.

Inheritance and Probate Challenges

Heirs or beneficiaries may also dispute paternity and inheritance rights during probate of wills and estates. Paternal testing ensures biological children receive appropriate inheritances from fathers. Similarly, testing may be sought to challenge or defend against inheritance claims when relationship doubts exist.

Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights

Paternal testing often occurs in conjunction with adoption proceedings or termination of parental rights cases. Identifying and confirming notice to biological fathers is legally required during adoptions. Testing definitively establishes paternity so fathers’ rights may be settled or surrendered before adoption finalization.

How Texas Courts Order Paternity Testing

Texas courts have broad authority to compel paternity testing if good cause exists under family or probate laws. Typically, the presumed or alleged father and the child and mother will be ordered to submit genetic material. Testing may be required even over a parent’s objections.

Two common procedures used are DNA cheek swabs or blood tests examining genetic markers to calculate the probability of paternity. Courts only accept results from accredited labs. Default judgment may occur if a parent refuses testing without good cause.

Contact a Collin County, TX Family Lawyer

Establishing paternity through genetic testing can simplify legal debates over who qualifies as a child’s legal father. To better understand the laws around paternal testing, a Frisco, TX family law attorney can help. Call Pfister Family Law at 972-954-6455 to get started and see if a paternity test could benefit your situation.

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