Paternity Law: Can Genetic Testing Be Forced To Establish Paternity?

Question:divorce lawyer Erin Clark

I would like to get child custody of a child I believe is mine. The child’s mother doesn’t want me to do a paternity test for whatever reason.

Is there a paternity law that allows for me to force her to take genetic testing to prove who is the child’s father?

Answer:

I am not licensed to practice law in your state so I cannot offer legal advice on divorce. However, I can give you general divorce tips for men that may be helpful to you.

Under Texas law (where I practice), the purpose of a suit to adjudicate parentage is to legally establish the existence of a parent-child relationship. Usually this involves the establishment of paternity, or whether there exists a father-child relationship.

If you are seeking to establish whether you are indeed the father, you would use genetic testing after consulting a licensed attorney and filing a suit to adjudicate parentage. The parties in such a suit can agree to voluntarily submit to genetic testing.

If the parties do not agree to do so, one of the parties can ask the court to order genetic testing of the child and the alleged parents by filing a Motion for Genetic Testing with the court.

This Motion can be filed anytime after the suit to adjudicate parentage is filed. In Texas, if the mother is unavailable or declines to submit to testing, the court can still order genetic testing of the child and the child’s alleged father.

Once you have established paternity of the child and that you are the father, the next step would likely be to file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship to establish conservatorship and visitation regarding the child.

Consult with a mens divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction for specific advice on divorce and paternity law in your state.

To set up an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell divorce lawyer, including Erin E. Clark, an Associate Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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