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Paternity Complexities

Dealing with paternity can involve complicated issues which add to the difficulty of understanding your legal rights. Who the father is in the eyes of the law may seem unclear. Some examples of paternity complications include:

  • The mother is married to someone other than the biological father before the child is born
  • Within 300 days of the mother divorcing a man who is not the biological father but is the presumed father, the child is born

Through an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP), you can establish legal paternity. However, a Denial of Paternity must be signed by the presumed father in addition to a biological father signing an AOP. The typical AOP form includes a place for the presumed father to sign acknowledging that he is not the true biological father.

The Texas Family Code defines Denial of Paternity, and the statutes following the definition explain the rules. Basically, the Denial of Paternity by a presumed father is effective if there is also an AOP signed by the biological father, and the presumed father has not previously signed an AOP or been adjudicated to be the father. without an AOP, a denial of paternity has no effect and court action is required.

Parties are best advised to submit both forms simultaneously. Biological parents can also bring a paternity suit if there is no Denial of Paternity form signed.

Rescinding an Acknowledgment of Paternity

Sometimes mothers or fathers change their minds about an AOP and wish they could undo it.

You have several options in this situation:

  • You can file a Rescission of the Acknowledgement Of Paternity form, if it is within 60 days of filing the AOP with the Vital Statistics Unit (VSU)
  • You can file a Rescission of the Acknowledgement Of Paternity form before anyone initiates a legal proceeding related to the child
  • You may challenge the AOP in court

Persons who make false entries or falsify information on an AOP are subject to penalties under the Texas Penal Code. So, it is important to fill out the form honestly and accurately.

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Robert Reid McInvale
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Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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