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Do I need to be legally married to get an order for child support and/or child custody?

The short answer is NO! If there is no marriage in place when the child was born, you are still able to request child support and child custody for your children. There is additional step that is required to prove the paternity of your children. The father of the children must sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity, which you would then file with the court. This is required even if the father is listed on the birth certificate. Texas does not accept the father’s name on the birth certificate as proof of paternity.


If the father of your children refuses to sign the Acknowledgement of Paternity, you will be required to file a Petition to Adjudicate Paternity. After you file this petition, you will need to serve the father formally so that they receive notice. At that point, the father can respond and try to fight it or they can ignore it and a judgment in your favor will be filed. If the father does try to fight it, it is typical for a DNA test to be requested by the court, which will provide an answer. After this, the judgement will include child custody arrangements and child support requirements. The best path for you is to get the father to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity. This will make the whole process of getting child custody and child support quicker and easier!


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