Paternity is the legal identification of a child’s biological father.

There are 3 ways to establish paternity of a child:

  1. by Presumption, - or -
  2. by Voluntary Acknowledgment, - or -
  3. by Court Order.

►For information about each way to establish paternity of a child, click here to read Texas Paternity Law: Frequently Asked Questions.

►Click here for the Establishing Paternity by Court Order - Instructions and Forms.

If paternity has already been established and you need custody, visitation and/or child support orders file a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship case (called a SAPCR) instead of a paternity case
.   Click here for information on filing a SAPCR  .

Information Not Legal Advice:
The information provided on this website is not a substitute for the help and advice of a lawyer. Paternity law can be complicated. If you decide to represent yourself, try to talk to a lawyer about your case before filing anything. A lawyer can explain how the law applies to you and what is best in your particular situation. Your rights as a parent may be at stake.

Lawyers to Help You Help Yourself:
There are lawyers who will help you help yourself. This means that you can hire the lawyer just to give you advice, review forms, draft documents or help you prepare for a hearing. You may then be able to complete other parts of your case yourself. This is called Limited Scope Representation.

Finding a Lawyer:
For help finding a lawyer, contact your local lawyer referral service or the Lawyer Referral Information Service at or 1-800-252-9690. To find the nearest Legal Aid office, go to and click on “Find Legal Assistance.”

Help for Victims of Domestic Violence:
If you or your child is a victim of domestic violence call the Family Violence Legal Line at 1-800-374-HOPE (4873) for help.


Last Review and Update: Feb 18, 2014