On February 1, Kylie Jenner gave birth to her first daughter, Stormi – and as with all things Kardashian, her pregnancy didn’t end without a juicy scandal. Kylie’s long-time ex, Tyga, recently made a few bold statements claiming Stormi is his daughter and demanded Kylie take a paternity test. Although the couple split in early April of last year – ten months prior to the birth – Tyga claims the two were sexually active as recently as nine months ago. If true, this makes a plausible case that Tyga is Stormi’s biological father. The only issue: Kylie is currently dating rapper Travis Scott, who she claims is the true father. This sets the stage for a turbulent battle for parental rights if Tyga makes good on his claim of paternity. So how might Tyga go about seeking parental rights for Stormi?
For purposes of this hypothetical, we will assume all parties are residents of Texas and their dispute will be governed under Texas law. In order to establish paternity, Tyga has three possible avenues to take. First, he may fill out an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) at one of many field offices of the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division, the local birth registrar, or any other certified entity. An AOP is a legal form admitting to biological paternity of a child and with it comes both rights and duties. Tyga stands to be granted rights such as possession of and access to Stormi, but also stands to bear duties such as the payment of child and medical support. Although this is one of the cheapest and simplest routes to establish paternity, there is one major drawback for Tyga: Kylie Jenner must also sign the AOP. For most this is not an issue, but Kylie is unlikely to consent to Tyga’s AOP when she has so ardently asserted that Travis Scott is Stormi’s true father. Unfortunately, Tyga must take one of the two remaining avenues to establish paternity.
Tyga’s second option is to contact the Office of the Attorney General about filing a suit to establish his parent-child relationship with Stormi. This option will only cost him a nominal fee, making it a good choice were he in dire financial straits. The principal downside to this approach is that the Office of the Attorney General is not allowed to represent you in a paternity proceeding. They can assist you in seeking paternity, but at the end of the day they do not owe you a fiduciary duty like a private attorney does and they may not advocate for your position as zealously, either. Moreover, the Office of the Attorney General may proceed with the case at a snail’s pace as they handle thousands of cases per year; they are constantly backlogged with child support and paternity suits. This makes the Office of the Attorney General a good option for individuals who are limited financially, but less than optimal for those who can afford an attorney that will give them the intimate attention that every case deserves.
Tyga’s last option is to file a paternity action himself. By filing with the Court by himself, Tyga will be seeking a court order adjudicating him to be the biological father of Stormi. In a situation like this, he may request the Court to order DNA testing of the parties involved to establish Tyga’s biological paternity – a request Tyga has already made over social media. Should the DNA testing confirm that Tyga fathered Stormi, Tyga can then go about seeking custody and child support himself. As Tyga is presumably seeking a finding of paternity in order to be involved in his child’s life, having an award of custody is precisely the end goal that Tyga desires. The downside to this approach lies with the complicated procedures involved in any court proceeding. Tyga’s absence of formal legal training might hinder his ability to achieve his various goals. However, this route will only cost Tyga the filing fees involved in seeking paternity and possibly the fees associated with DNA testing. Therefore, this is a fast, relatively cheap option for Tyga.
In the circumstances at hand, it is clear that an Acknowledgment of Paternity is out of the realm of possibility for Tyga, as Kylie would never cooperate with him in that regard. Tyga’s more realistic options are to either request the support of the Office of the Attorney General in establishing a parent-child relationship with Stormi, to take matters into his own hands and represent himself in seeking a paternity determination, or to hire an attorney to represent him. His best course of action depends entirely on his priorities.
Written by: Spencer Page