Determining paternity is not always a simple matter, especially if the mother of the child does not consent to a paternity test. Unlike other states, Texas allows for more flexibility when it comes to pursuing paternity, but still places some restrictions on the circumstances in which a potential father may sue in order to obtain testing. These legal boundaries must be considered carefully before taking specific legal action.
If there is already another man who is the presumed father to the child, then the man who wishes to claim paternity may only sue to compel the mother and child to undergo paternity testing within four years of the child's birth. There are two exceptions to this rule, however.
If the potential father can build a solid case arguing that the mother and the presumed father did not have sexual relations during the likely time of conception or if the presumed father was not capable of producing offspring during that time, a court may allow for a later suit for paternity. Likewise, a court may approve testing if the presumed father was intentionally mislead to believe he is the father.
If the child does not have a presumed father, then a potential father may bring a suit any time he wishes to. This remains true even after the child reaches adulthood.
Should you face the difficult task of seeking paternity, it is important to understand all the laws that may apply to your circumstances and the legal tools you can use to assert and protect your rights as a father. An experienced family law attorney can help scrutinize your circumstances and build strong strategies that protect your rights and priorities as you move forward.
Source: FindLaw, "exas Paternity Suits," accessed March 16, 2018