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When the parents of a child are not married, the parent-child relationship must be established by the court. Suits affecting the parent-child relationship create visitation schedules, order child support, and determine the rights and duties of each parent. Suits affecting the parent-child relationship, referred to as SAPCR, are also frequently used to establish paternity.

How do I establish paternity?

Paternity can be established if the father signs an acknowledgment of paternity, if they are listed on the birth certificate, and by taking a DNA test. It is wise to hire a paternity lawyer in Houston to advise on the process. Courts will require some, or possibly all, of these steps to be taken prior to adjudicating a father and establishing a parent-child relationship. If the father refuses to acknowledge his child, the Court will order genetic testing. If the DNA test confirms paternity, he will be adjudicated as the father, with all of the legal rights and duties of a parent.

Why is a suit affecting the parent-child relationship necessary?

A SAPCR establishes the parent-child relationship. Without a court order in place, each parent has equal rights to the child. Either parent could move away with the child, or attempt to prevent the other parent from seeing the child. If you have not executed the proper documents as a parent, you could be denied access to your child until you are adjudicated as the father. Even if you are getting along with the other parent, you should still establish a legal relationship to protect your rights with the help of an experienced Houston paternity lawyer.

Is child support required in a SAPCR?

Most courts require child support unless the parents are living together, even if the parents agree otherwise. Child support is intended to benefit the child and is presumed to be in the child’s best interest, so courts are reluctant to waive child support.

If you truly believe your case is exceptional, you may want to speak with one of the Houston paternity lawyers at Ramos Law Group to determine if child support is needed.

My child is still an infant, what kind of visitation will I receive?

There is no standard possession order for children under the age of three. The court will look at the age and needs of each individual child in determining visitation. Most courts believe that frequent, short periods of contact are the best solution. Some courts will order “phased in” periods of possession until the child turns three.

Under phased in possession, the parent will spend increasingly longer periods of time with the child building up to the standard possession order.

Paternity Lawyers at Ramos Law Group

Whatever situation you find yourself in, hire a Ramos Law Group paternity attorney to help ensure you follow the correct legal process. Our expert lawyers are experienced in all matters of family law and can help you navigate difficult and important cases to find the best possible outcome. Contact Ramos Law Group today and schedule your consultation.

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