Written by attorney Christopher M. Migliaccio

Ten Issues Pertaining to Child Support and Paternity in Texas

Child support and paternity in Texas may be complicated if the parents are unmarried when the child is born. Whereas the husband is presumed the father when a child is born to a married couple, no such assumption is made about the biological father when a child is born to unmarried parents.

Family lawyers in Plano, Texas can help individuals who are dealing with Texas child support issues. Per the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, the following are 10 things that non-custodial parents should know about child support and paternity in Texas.

Acknowledgment of Paternity Document and Court Summons

The acknowledgement of paternity document is signed by unmarried couples in order to legally identify the child’s father. The document may be signed before or after the birth. Many hospitals offer information about this document, which is very important for issues related to child support and paternity in Texas.

When receiving a court summons regarding paternity or child support in Texas, obey it. Ignoring it is considered contempt of court. In addition, the court can make decision if the man fails to appear to a court appearance regarding paternity, so a man can be forced to pay child support even if he is not the biological father.

Understand Before Signing, Free Paternity Testing, Protect Rights and Be Honest

It is often difficult and costly to change a legal document once it has been signed and filed. Therefore, all parties should be aware of what they are signing. Even ask family lawyers in Plano, TX to review the document.

Men who open a child support case with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) have the right to free DNA testing.

Along the same line, opening a case with the Office of the Attorney General can protect the parent’s rights and establish court orders for:

  • support;
  • visitation; and
  • custody.

In Texas, child support is based on the non-custodial parent’s income. The more a person makes, the more child support he or she must pay. Therefore, honesty is the best policy in this case.

Make an Effort to Pay, Request a Review, and Communicate Status Changes and Don’t Ignore Child Support Orders

Sometimes financial situations make it hard to pay the full amount of child support for some months. Parents should make an effort to at least make a partial payment and contact the child support office to ask for a modification.

If the non-custodial parent loses his or her job and receives a substantial pay cut, he or she should contact the child support office and request a review. Sometimes modifications to the payment amount can be made.

If the child’s living arrangements change (such as the custodial parent loses or gives up custody), this information should be relayed to the Texas child support office. It can determine if child support still needs to be paid.

Although paying child support is considered a necessary evil by some fathers, it is mandated by state law, intended to benefit the child, and cannot be ignored. The amount only adds up and like a credit card, it accrues interest when unpaid.

Establishing child support and paternity in Texas can be complicated processes. An attorney can offer guidance and information to individuals dealing with these issues, and can represent their rights in cases involving child support and paternity in Texas.

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