Let’s Get It On
It’s your first date with that hot girl from the bar you went to last weekend. You know how you want the night to go: dinner, a movie, maybe a few drinks, and then straight back to your place.
You set the tone with Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” because that’s precisely what you plan to do.
However, you know the birds and the bees and what can result from a one night stand.
Eight Short Weeks Later…
That one night stand sees two pink lines on her pregnancy test…a baby is on the way. You two did not continue on in your relationship and she never tells you that she is pregnant with your child.
You, however, were raised to accept responsibility for your actions and you want to know what your rights and obligations may be to any children that may result from a “good night.”
The Texas Vital Statistics Unit: Paternity Registry
In Texas, an alleged father (or unwed father) may file a “Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity” form with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit before the birth of the child or within 31 days from the birth.
The form requests information including contact information of the father, any information known about the child, as well as information about the possible mother of the child. Filing this form entitles the registered father to notice in any termination or adoption suits affecting the child and helps protect the rights of the alleged father.
If You Don’t Register
Under the Texas Family Code, any father who does not register with the Paternity Registry is subject to having his parental rights terminated with no notice to him of the proceedings.
If the child is over 1 year of age, and the father has not registered, his rights may be terminated if the father’s identity and location is not known, or if his identity is known but location is not known.
If the child is under 1 year of age, and the father has not registered, his rights may be terminated even without providing him any notice of the proceedings, or even without providing him knowledge that the child was even born.
Register, Even After A One-Night Stand
If you are a father, or think there is some chance you could be a father, REGISTER! It is better to be safe than sorry in this situation. With the number of children born out of wedlock growing daily, many fathers are having their parental rights terminated without even knowing the child existed. Protect yourself, protect your rights, and protect your relationship with your future child.
Registration information can be found through your attorney or at www.dshs.state.tx.us.
–Authored by Kayla R. Wimberley, J.D.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Estate Management Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479