Paternity Lawyer

Paternity is the legal status of fatherhood. A child's biological father does not necessarily have legal parenting rights or legal responsibilities toward the child until paternity has been established. 

Establishing paternity can be a difficult process without a legal advocate by your side.

Arlington, TX-based paternity lawyer Donna J. Smiedt has been a Board Certified Family Law Attorney by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1991. Contact her to protect your child's best interests.

Arlington Leaves Stellar Reviews


Marie Williams

Arlington, TX


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Very professional and friendly practice. I would highly recommend Donna and her team..Any of my questions or concerns have been quickly addressed each time I had to reach out. The entire process is handled with respect and they do understand that having to deal with custody issues is a sensitive subject.

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Billie L.

Arlington, TX


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This Law firm has been an absolute blessing to me and my family. Donna J Smiedt was professional and personable. She was extremely helpful with the complex situation I had and took every opportunity to do whatever they could to aide in my case. They are a hardworking Law firm, who doesn't treat you as a case or number, but as a person! I would highly recommend The Family Law Firm.

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The Many Benefits Of Establishing Paternity

Family signing a child support agreement with lawyer

Access to Child Support

Until the courts declare a man the legal father of a child, it is difficult to require him to pay child support, whether the parents were never married or are divorced.

Father coloring with daughter

Custody and Visitation Rights

A biological father will have difficulty achieving legal custody or fair visitation rights if he is not recognized as the legal father.

Doctor examining child

Knowledge of Medical History

In cases where the identity of the biological father is unclear, court-ordered DNA tests can prove fatherhood and give children access to important medical information.

Parent reviewing health insurance information with medical professional

Insurance and Other Benefits

A child cannot access their father's benefits such as health insurance, social security, and inheritance until legal fatherhood has been established.

Son kissing his father's cheek

Emotional Advantages

Paternity allows fathers to enjoy a relationship with their children, have a hand in the child's upbringing, and bond with the child.

Why Hire a Lawyer?

Unfortunately, disputes involving a question of fatherhood are often complex and quite difficult to resolve in an amicable way. In some instances, a man believed to be the father of a child may not wish to become responsible for paying child support, and therefore refuse to cooperate in any effort to resolve paternity issues. In others, a mother may not want a man believed to be the father of a child to have a relationship with that child. 

A paternity lawyer can handle the legalities of your case and work toward an outcome that serves the best interests of the child. This allows you to cope with the stress of these disputes without the added challenge of navigating the legal system on your own. More importantly, a lawyer's knowledge of the laws pertaining to these disputes can greatly improve the chances that the child's best interests will be protected.

Whether your needs are related to a divorce, an adoption, a custody or visitation dispute, the need to collect financial support, or the need to eliminate the obligation to pay support, a paternity lawyer can help. Donna J. Smiedt is a Board Certified Family Law Attorney by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization whose firm is prepared to help you.

Talk to Our Family Lawyer Donna J. Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Southlake and Arlington, TX, has been handling family law cases for clients throughout greater Dallas-Fort Worth for more than 30 years. With practice areas including divorce, child custody, and child support, Donna and her team of family law attorneys have extensive knowledge of every facet of Texas family law, and they can apply this focus to paternity issues.

When it comes time to pursue legal action in establishing paternity, you should seek a lawyer who will handle the proceedings with sensitivity and compassion. Donna Smiedt understands that family law cases can be highly stressful and emotional, and she strives to make every case as easy and conflict-free for her clients as possible.

If the legal fatherhood of your child is in dispute for any reason, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our attorneys at our Arlington office today. We serve clients throughout Southlake and Westover Hills. You can schedule a consultation by booking online or by calling

Donna J. Smiedt
Ms. Smiedt has been practicing family law since 1986.

Great Reviews From Family Law Clients


Chanel Aldarondo

Arlington, TX


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Donna, Emily and Melissa have been nothing but amazing! If you’re in need of a lawyer who is going to have your back definitely use them! 10 out of 10 recommend

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Archie R.

Arlington, TX


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I always felt better after speaking with Donna. She took time to get to know me as a person, not just as a client. She knows the law and the procedures well and does all she can to guide you through this difficult and complicated process. Thanks Donna J!

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How Is Paternity Established?

At the Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Southlake and Arlington, TX, we help both fathers and mothers throughout greater Dallas-Fort Worth establish the legal fatherhood of a child. Paternity can be established in a number of ways:
Ms. Smiedt can exhaust every potential method of proving paternity.
Ms. Smiedt can exhaust every potential method of proving paternity.


The mother and father can voluntarily establish legal fatherhood. They can do this through written acknowledgment, or through a court order agreed upon by both parties. In most cases, an Acknowledgment of Paternity form is signed at the hospital after the child is born. 

Court Order

When legal fatherhood is disputed by any party, a petition to adjudicate parentage can be filed in the county where the child lives. The man involved in the fatherhood dispute will receive notice to appear in court at a certain date. If the man does not appear in court, the judge can declare him the legal father through a default order. If the man appears and he and the woman agree that he is the child's biological father, the court will declare him the legal father.

DNA Testing

If paternity is denied or uncertain, the court is able to order DNA testing. The DNA test requires cheek swabs from the man, the mother, and the child. The court will send the DNA samples to a lab for testing. If the DNA test proves that the man is the biological father of the child, the court will declare him the legal father.

More Key Paternity Info

Paternity Can Be Terminated

When a man is declared a child's legal father, but does not believe he is the child's biological father, he can file a petition to have his paternity terminated. 

Forms Can Be Rescinded

If you sign a form establishing legal fatherhood, but change your mind later, Texas law allows you to submit a rescission form within 60 days of the acknowledgment being filed.

Right to an Attorney

In Texas, mothers, fathers, and alleged fathers all have the right to be represented by a lawyer during the court proceedings of a paternity case.

Contact Our Paternity Lawyer Today

The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, TX, has helped many clients throughout greater Dallas-Fort Worth navigate complex family law cases in which the establishment of legal fatherhood is crucial. Every case comes with its own set of circumstances, and Donna is prepared to meet your needs. Let us help with your case today. For more information about what to expect and how to get started, contact our Arlington practice online or call us at


family law attorneys
Our Arlington team is here for you.

Arlington Leaves Many 5-Star Reviews


Linda Olson

Arlington, TX


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This is one of the very best law firms in town!!! The whole team worked to help my situation and were very successful. Very passionate and compassionate. Went out of their way to help and went above and beyond what anyone could have ever expected!!! I will HIGHLY recommend!

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Henry T.

Arlington, TX


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Donna was absolutely amazing. Not only was she professional and knowledgeable she took the time to make sure I understood everything. Her paralegal was wonderful to work with as well. They are a great team. They got back to me on everything promptly. I could not thank them both enough. I will highly recommend them to my family and friends.

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Paternity Issues and Divorce

As lawyers exclusively focused on family law who frequently handle divorce cases, the attorneys at The Family Law Firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington know how questions of legal and biological fatherhood can affect divorce proceedings. Paternity cases can often have a powerful influence on the outcome of cases involving child custody, child support, visitation rights, and more.

Questions of fatherhood can also arise after a divorce. For example, a man may be paying child support for a child he doesn't believe is biologically his, or a woman might share custody with a man she does not believe to be the father.

At Donna J. Smiedt's family law firm, our attorneys assist clients throughout greater Dallas-Fort Worth in all types of paternity cases, including:

  • Mothers proving legal fatherhood to receive child support
  • Fathers proving legal fatherhood to receive visitation rights
  • Men disproving legal fatherhood to avoid unjust child support
  • Divorcing couples determining legal fatherhood as it pertains to a divorce settlement

Dealing With Mistaken Paternity

Empty crib

It can be devastating to find out the child you thought was yours may not be. After having this suspicion raised, it is totally understandable to no longer want the legal parent-child relationship you have had. Terminating this relationship will result in any future child support obligations being eliminated.

If you want to prove you are not the father, our attorney can help you follow all guidelines laid out by the Attorney General of Texas for doing so. First, we can ensure you receive genetic testing from a lab that is certified by the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies. Any test not from a certified lab will not count in court.

If the test comes back with the results you suspect, we can file a petition to end the parent-child relationship, make sure you meet all requirements at the pre-trial hearing, and represent you through the conclusion of this ordeal.

Regardless of Your Specific Need Our Law Firm Is Here to Help

Our paternity attorney, Donna J. Smiedt, made family law the focus of her career because she wanted to provide the skilled, compassionate representation that all parents and children deserve. For approximately four decades, she has done just that.

The fact that Donna is a believer in marriage and happily married herself often reassures her clients. At our office, you will not be dealing with a jaded divorce lawyer. You will be working with a paternity attorney who understands the toll of heartbreak and how best to help clients through any issue with paternity, child custody, and child support.


Here For Arlington Family Law Clients


Hugh S.

Arlington, TX


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Donna and her team on my side was a godsend. Not only is she extremely knowledgeable and professional, she is fair, honest, responsive, transparent, kind and has a wonderful heart. She has a true gift of successfully helping people thru the toughest of times and I was blessed to have her on my side. She is an amazing attorney and a phenomenal person! I highly recommend Donna for anyone needing a great lawyer!

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Anthony Vazquez

Arlington, TX


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If you've been shopping around for an attorney, you can stop right here... I went to her for help with a case involving parental rights. She got me exactly what I wanted and watching her in action made me feel lucky that she is on my side... f you are specific with your questions, you will get the answers you want.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does legal representation for a paternity case cost?

Costs vary based on several factors. Donna and her team of lawyers care about every client who enters our Arlington office, and they understand that cost is a concern. For more information on the cost of professional representation, contact us online or give us a call at 817-572-9900.

Is establishing legal fatherhood alone enough for me to be awarded child custody?

Not necessarily. Custody disputes involve many factors, not just proof of biological fatherhood. Other factors taken into account by the courts include the ability to support a child, any history of irresponsible behavior, mental health, and more. Fortunately, our attorneys serving greater Dallas-Fort Worth handle issues of child custody as well, and will fight for an outcome that serves your child's best interests.

Do I really need an attorney?

You are always free to represent yourself in any family law case. However, a dedicated family law attorney can use legal expertise to ensure that your best interests and those of your child are being protected.

the team at The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt

The Family Law Firm of Donna J Smiedt is the premier destination for clients who need representation during a divorce, adoption, or other family law matters. Donna J. Smiedt has been in practice since 1986 and is a Board Certified Family Law Attorney – Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her other professional affiliations include:

  • Texas Bar College
  • Arlington Bar Association
  • Tarrant County Bar Association
  • Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists

To schedule a consultation at our Arlington or Southlake, TX, law firm, contact us online or call (817) 572-9900.

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