San Antonio Divorce Lawyers Assisting Unwed Parents
Experienced advocacy when paternity, custody, and child support are in question
Many biological parents are not married when their child is born. When the relationship between the parents ends – whether it’s the day after the child was conceived or years later – the parents need to formally determine who will be the conservators of the minor child and who will financially provide for the child. When the male denies that he is the father, if a proper request is made by the mother, the San Antonio family court will order a paternity test to determine whether he is the parent or not.
At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, we represent married and unmarried residents of San Antonio. We are skilled family lawyers who understand your desire to do everything possible to protect and guide your children when parents separate. Many of the legal issues that apply to married parents also apply to unmarried parents. Our San Antonio family law attorneys will answer your questions, explain your rights, and work to ensure you and your children can spend as much time as possible together. We’ll fight to ensure your children have the guidance and financial support they need to live and prosper.
What Our Clients Are Saying
"The unfortunate circumstances of a divorce caused me to hire a lawyer but hiring Matt Grimshaw as my attorney opened my eyes to know there are still good people in this world. Mr. Grimshaw was transparent, humble, and compassionate. He demonstrates the compassion to serve others is in his patience and kindness. He is an expert in family law. He took the time and never made me feel rushed or left me feeling uninformed." – Rita P.
"Mr. Mora is amazing! I’ve worked with him twice now and I’ve had nothing less than excellent and professional service! I was going through a very stressful and crazy litigation with my ex-husband and every curveball was thrown but without Mr. Mora and is amazing paralegal Amanda helping me to remain calm and strong to the very end, I really don’t know how things would have turned out! If you are someone who is looking for an attorney who acts with integrity, morals and is extremely thorough and has a great reputation then I highly recommend Mr. Mora. My children and I thank you again." – Morgan W.
How is paternity determined in San Antonio?
There are several ways to determine paternity in Texas. If there is an unresolved dispute, paternity is determined through the use of DNA tests (genetic tests). Our San Antonio paternity lawyers understand these tests and work to ensure that paternity is established through a court order so that both biological parents can raise their children and meet their obligations.
Paternity by presumption. Texas law provides that a man is presumed to be the father of a child if:
- The man is married to the child’s mother and the child is born during the marriage.
- The man is married to the child’s mother and the child is born “before the 301st day after the date the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce.”
- The man married the child’s mother before the child was born, and other specific conditions involving the validity of the marriage apply.
- The man married the child’s mother “after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with [the] law, regardless of whether the marriage is or could be declared invalid,” the man voluntarily asserted his paternity of the child, and:
- The assertion was filed with the appropriate vital statistics unit
- The man is voluntarily identified as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate
- The man promised “in a record” to support the child as his own
- “During the first two years of the child’s life, he continuously resided in the household in which the child resided and he represented to others that the child was his own.”
Generally, paternity by presumption is binding unless the presumed father formally denies paternity and another person acknowledges paternity. The presumed father generally must contest paternity by the time the child turns four to overturn paternity established by presumption. Some additional challenges to paternity may apply.
Acknowledging paternity in Texas. Texas law provides that “the mother of a child and a man claiming to be the biological father of the child may sign an acknowledgment of paternity with the intent to establish the man’s paternity.” A male may be able to contest this type of paternity if specific short time limits are met and the acknowledgment was based on fraud, duress, or a material mistake of fact.
Paternity by adjudication and court order. If a male denies that he is the parent, a San Antonio court can order that the male, child, and any other possible male parents submit to genetic testing. There are specific requirements for genetic tests. Different complications may arise that our San Antonio unwed parent lawyers will explain, such as what happens if the male the mother claims is the parent is deceased. Genetic testing for paternity is considered nearly 100 percent accurate.
What factors determine who has a conservatorship of a child in San Antonio?
The factors that are used to determine conservatorships (custody) and child custody plans in San Antonio, Texas are essentially the same as for married parents who are going through a divorce.
In many relationships, both parents will share conservatorship (custody) of their children, though there are situations where only one parent is named a conservator. The parents can create their own custody and visitation plan, which must be approved by the family court to ensure that the best interests of the children are prioritized. If there is no agreement, the court creates its own plan, called a standard possession order.
The factors for determining child custody are outlined in Texas Family Code Section 153.002. Some of the factors that affect custody of unwed parents include the age and health of the children and the parents, the ability of each parent to care for the child, the preference for stability, the involvement of each parent in the child’s life, any special needs of the child, and other factors.
Our San Antonio unwed parent lawyers will explain when there may be differences between custody for wed and unwed parents. The main difference involves paternity. Fathers who wish to have custody and visitation of their children must be formally approved as having paternity of their child. Mothers who seek child support must confirm the paternity of the father.
Other wed vs. unwed issues may involve determining the last name of the child, who can claim the child as a dependent, and other practical and legal issues.
How is child support determined when parents are unwed?
The factors that are used to determine child support in San Antonio are essentially the same for unmarried parents as they are for married parents. Child support determines how much money a noncustodial parent should pay for the child’s food, clothing, shelter, and other living expenses. Child support should also cover medical and dental support.
Texas considers the financial resources of each parent, the number of children being supported, the custody order, and whether alimony is being paid. Since unwed parents are not eligible for alimony, then the alimony payments are not considered.
A mother cannot seek child support and a father is not required to pay child support until the paternity of the father is established.
The amount of support an unwed parent must pay is based on the number of children the parent paying support has and certain income limits. The debts of the parents are not considered.
Our San Antonio lawyers will help ensure that child support obligations are part of a court order. We are also skilled at enforcing child support orders.
Do you have a family law attorney near me?
At Grable Grimshaw, PLLC, we meet parents and children at our office located at 1603 Babcock Rd Suite 280. We also conduct video conferences by appointment.
Our attorneys are skilled in all phases of family law. We handle disputes involving unmarried parents, military parents, high-conflict divorces, and every type of family law dispute. We’ll guide you through each step of the process.
Talk with a respected San Antonio unwed family lawyer today
At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, we understand how traumatic the end of any relationship is. Our San Antonio unwed family lawyers also understand how important protecting your children is. Rest assured that we will get you through this difficult time by protecting you and your children. Our lawyers understand the relevant laws, procedures, and family law processes. We’ll help you and your children move forward confidently. To discuss your family law concerns, call our office in San Antonio or fill out our contact form today.