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Preventing adoption before paternity is established

Many men in Texas may have casual relationships or lose touch with former significant others and later find out that a child will be or has been born. While some may want to deny paternity, others may want to become a father in every sense of the word. However, without a marriage certificate, there is a chance that the child could be adopted without any say from the biological father, ending any rights he may have had.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there is a form that a man can fill out if he believes he may have fathered a child. This form, the Notice of Intent to Claim Paternity, can be filled out before the birth or within 31 days after, or even if he only suspects that a child may have been conceived. It is designed to protect the parental rights of men who are not in a relationship with the mother and are not on an Acknowledgement of Paternity or named a presumed father on the child's birth certificate.

A man could wish to file this form because the mother will not agree that he is her child's father and he wants to establish paternity. However, this form does not establish paternity. It only asserts his wish to do so. If more than one man believes he is the father, each could file the form. The Texas Statutes state that if the man has filed the form, even though he has not established paternity yet, he must be notified of any attempt to terminate parental rights or begin adoption proceedings

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