Law Offices of
Donald L. Williams
Attorney/Mediator and Counselor at Law
|3301 Rain Dance Dr. || ||2829 Montana, Ste. 204|
|El Paso, Texas 79936 || ||El Paso, Texas 79903|
|(915) 598-6009 Office || ||(915) 564-5559 Office|
|(915) 590-8365 Facsimile || ||(915) 562-1224 Facsimile|
Anatomy of a Standard Paternity
The Establishment of the Parent-Child Relationship
The father-child relationship is established between a man and a child by:
1. an unrebutted presumption of the man’s paternity of the child under Section 160.204 of the Texas Family
Code listed below;
2. an effective acknowledgment of paternity by the man, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or
3. an adjudication of the man’s paternity;
4. the adoption of the child by the man; or
5. the man’s consenting to assisted reproduction by his wife, which resulted in the birth of the child.
A man is presumed to be the father of a child if:
1. he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born during the marriage;
A presumption of paternity established may be rebutted only by an adjudication under Subchapter G of the Texas
2. he is married to the mother of the child and the child is born before the 301st day after the date
the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce;
3. he married the mother of the child before the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, even
if the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the invalid marriage
or before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of
invalidity, or divorce; or
4. he married the mother of the child after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, regardless
of whether the marriage is or could be declared invalid, he voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:
(A) the assertion is in a record filed with the bureau of vital statistics;
(B) he is voluntarily named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate; or
(C) he promised in a record to support the child as his own.
A man is rebuttably identified as the father of a child if the genetic testing results disclose:
1. the man has at least a 99 percent probability of paternity, using a prior probability of 0.5, as calculated
by using the combined paternity index obtained in the testing; and
A man identified as the father of a child may rebut the genetic testing results only by producing other genetic
testing satisfying the requirements of law that:
1. excludes the man as a genetic father of the child; or
The cost of the initial genetic testing must be advanced by the individual who made the request; as agreed by
the parties; or as ordered by the court.
2. identifies another man as the possible father of the child.
A presumed father, the mother, or another individual cannot adjudicate the parentage of a child having a
presumed father after the fourth anniversary of the date of the birth of the child, unless the presumed
father and the mother of the child did not live together or engage in sexual intercourse with each other
during the probable time of the conception; and the presumed father never openly treated the child as his own.
ADMISSION OF PATERNITY
An order for genetic testing is enforceable by contempt.
A person who refuses to submit to genetic testing as ordered by the court may have the court rule contrary to
their position. The testing of the mother is not necessary; however, the court can order the testing of the
child and the presumed father or fathers without the mother.
The court can render an order of paternity based upon the filing of or an admission of paternity in a pleading by
the presumed father or in an open hearing.
In a paternity proceeding, the court shall render a temporary order for child support for a child if the order
is appropriate and the individual ordered to pay child support:
1. is a presumed father of the child;
A temporary order may include provisions for the possession of or access to the child as provided by other
laws of this state.
2. is petitioning to have his paternity adjudicated;
3. is identified as the father through genetic testing;
4. is an alleged father who has declined to submit to genetic testing;
5. is shown by clear and convincing evidence to be the father of the child; or
6. is the mother of the child.
REASONABLE FEES AND COSTS
After a determination of paternity, the court may assess filing fees, reasonable attorneys fees, fees for genetic
testing, other costs and necessary travel and other reasonable expenses incurred in a proceeding.
Upon good caused shown the court may order that the child’s name be changed.
On a finding of parentage, the court may order retroactive child support and on a proper showing, order a party
to pay an equitable portion of all of the prenatal and postnatal health care expenses of the mother and the child.
Child support is paid pursuant to an order of the court. The amount of child support ordered by a judge will
depend upon, among other things, the ability of the parties to pay. The primary factor considered is the need
of the child. Once set, the amount of child support cannot be changed by a joint agreement among the parents
alone; only a court order can change it. The support continues until each child is emancipated, reaches
eighteen (18) years of age or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last. There are special provisions
for adult or handicapped children and children over eighteen still pursuing a high school diploma.
Child support can be agreed upon between parties if the court approves the agreement. Military children become
dependents after the parental adjudication. The service member parent generally can continue to draw an
allowance for BAH; however, this is governed by military regulations and is subject to change.
CUSTODY OF CHILDREN, MOTHER OR FATHER
The court has the authority to determine who gets custody of minor children based on which parent is better
able to care for the child. Many factors such as income, ability to provide housing and love/affection will
be considered. This means that a father has a reasonable chance of getting custody if it is shown that he is
better able to care for the child. "Unfitness" is not the standard, what is in the child's best interest, is.
HELPING CHILDREN COPE WITH DIVORCE:
A SEMINAR FOR DIVORCING PARENTS AS REQUIRED BY
THE DISTRICT AND COUNTY COURTS OF EL PASO COUNTY
This four-hour educational program is designed to help parents focus on the needs of their children during this
difficult and painful time. These court ordered seminars are conducted by qualified professionals affiliated
with YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region.
The divorce process
How children react
What children need to do to adjust
What parents can do to help
How to deal with new family structures
When children are at risk
How to get help
Each participant will be charged a fee of $35.00 for this seminar. If you are filing with the El Paso Legal
Assistance Society and the El Paso Bar Association Pro Bono Project the fee is $15.00.
Children are not permitted in the class.
Child Care is not available on site.
A parent is not required to attend the seminar with the other party. The requirement to attend extends to all
cases involving children NOT just divorce.
For more information call the HELPING CHILDREN COPE Coordinator at 577-9922, Ext. 247.
Make checks or money orders payable to Children Cope with Divorce, and mail to the YWCA, 1918 Texas Ave.,
El Paso, Texas 79901.
NO CLASSES ARE HELD AT 1918 TEXAS AVE.
THIS ADDRESS IS FOR PRE-REGISTRATION AND PAYMENT PURPOSES ONLY.
HOW CAN I PAY THE ATTORNEY?
No two cases are ever alike; therefore, the attorney will not quote a fee until a thorough interview has been
conducted. Clients with children need more rights and privileges protected than clients without. This office
will require a "Retainer" or a “Stated Minimum Fee” on every case. Monthly payments can be arranged should the
costs exceed the “retainer” or “stated minimum fee”. Flat fees are never quoted.
BUT DO I REALLY NEED AN ATTORNEY FOR A PATERNITY?
There are books and "packets" available in many states that purport to enable an individual to handle legal
matters without employing an attorney, this office DOES NOT recommend use of such materials. A paternity
will determine matters that will affect you for the rest of your life. For this reason the advice of an
attorney is thought to be essential. This office will not advice individuals to secure a legal matter
without consulting an attorney and will render no advice as to how to properly complete petitions, orders,
and decrees obtained from such packets.
YOUR NEXT STEP
Now that you have read the information, an experienced legal assistant or an attorney will now interview you.
You may ask any questions concerning your situation. You will talk directly to the attorney sometime during
your visit to make all the arrangements necessary to retain his services.
If you are unable to retain the services of a private attorney, you can contact the
El Paso County Legal Assistance Society at (915) 544-3022.
This information sheet is provided as a courtesy by:
The Law Offices of Donald L. Williams
NOTICE TO CLIENT
The State Bar of Texas investigates and prosecutes professional misconduct committed by Texas attorneys.
Although not every complaint against or dispute with a lawyer involves professional misconduct, the State
Bar Office of General Counsel will provide you with information about how to file a complaint. For more
information please call 1-800-932-1900. This is a toll free phone call.
You hereby understand that, if you should at any time become displeased or dissatisfied with any aspect
whatsoever of attorney’s representation, or if you should at any time have any serious question concerning
that representation, you will immediately notify attorney of that fact in writing by certified mail,
return receipt requested.
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