Failure To File With The Paternity Registry
One basis for terminating an alleged father’s parental rights is his failure to enroll with the state’s paternity registry. A man presumed to be the father of a child must file a Notice of Intent with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit before or within 31 days after the child is born. Enrollment by the alleged father entitles him to notification of a suit for termination of his parental rights. Therefore, if the presumed father does not register, he is not entitled to service and his parental rights can be terminated without his knowledge.
The suit to terminate the alleged father’s rights for failure to register must be supported by a certificate that the petitioner searched the Texas Vital Statistics paternity records and confirms the presumed father has in fact not registered. The registry can be searched by completing current form VS134, found at www.dshs.state.tx.us/. Payment of a small fee and providing a copy of a government issued identification is required.
From a father’s perspective, if he wishes to prevent termination of his parental rights without notice to him, he has simply to enroll by completing form VS130, also found at www.dshs.state.tx.us/. Registering does not necessarily prevent termination of a father’s rights; it only entitles the father to receive notice/service of a lawsuit attempting to terminate his rights.
Contact the McCleskey Law Firm if you need assistance in completing or searching the paternity registry. Our experienced attorneys have handled numerous parental rights and other family law cases and have the knowledge necessary to answer your questions related to these issues.