What is an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP)?
You have probably seen the show, “Maury Show” where dads find out whether or not they are the biological father of a child.
AOP is a form that a dad can fill out and submit to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. When you sign that form, you accept that you ARE the father of a child.
Another way to establish paternity is to sign the birth certificate.
The Texas Family Code has a separate section for paternity, also known as the Uniform Parentage Act.
Section 160.201(B) states:
(b) The father-child relationship is established between a man and a child by:
(1) an unrebutted presumption of the man’s paternity of the child under Section 160.204;
(2) an effective acknowledgment of paternity by the man under Subchapter D, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or successfully challenged;
(3) an adjudication of the man’s paternity;
(4) the adoption of the child by the man; or
(5) the man’s consenting to assisted reproduction by his wife under Subchapter H, which resulted in the birth of the child.
Back to the Maury show.
It is common for a party to ask for genetic testing to prove whether a child is theirs. Unfortunately, sometimes, it can be too late to file action against paternity.
Why is Acknowledgment of Paternity Important?
AOP is important because of three main reasons:
- The court looks at the best interest of a child. That is the standard. Therefore, if a child has been living with you for many years and is accustomed to you as his father. then you will more likely be adjudicated as the father- even if the child is biologically not yours. You are deemed the presumed father. The true father (biological) is the alleged father.
- For the sake of child support, in the event of separation of families. In a pending divorce case, the Court needs to determine who has primary custody of the child. Also, the Court needs to rule who on who is obligated to pay child support. Knowing who the true parents of a child are will really help with this legal process
“But I am NOT the Father!”
Denial of Paternity
Just like an AOP, if the dad is not the child’s father, then he needs to sign the “Denial of Paternity” section of the AOP. Mom must complete this section of the form and her spouse (presumed father) before paternity can be established.