Establishing paternity is an important part of parenthood, both for a child and his or her father. Child support attorneys point out that legal paternity is especially critical when questions related to child custody and child support arise. Documented paternity protects children and ensures that they receive necessary support and protection. It also protects a father’s rights as a parent.
In Texas, there are some very specific laws concerning paternity that can impact the ability of a child to obtain certain benefits as well as a father’s ability to take part in parenting duties and privileges. Therefore, law firms that handle child support issues stress the importance for a father to establish paternity of any child.
The Importance of Establishing Paternity
Paternity establishes the legal connection between a father and his child. When that child is born to a married couple in Texas, there is an immediate establishment of paternity once the birth certificate is signed. Child support lawyers advise that when a child is born to an unmarried couple in Texas, paternity is not official identified until it has been legally established and documented with the court.
Legal documentation of paternity is necessary for many reasons, beginning with being able to put the father’s name on the birth certificate, making the child eligible for parental-related benefits such as social security, health insurance, veteran survivor’s benefits, and more. Attorneys who help clients with child support issues advise of this necessity to protect both the father and the child in any type of child custody and support matter.
Acknowledging Paternity In Texas
An attorney with law firms that handle child support questions advises unmarried clients to establish paternity ahead of time at the hospital where the child is or will be born with an Acknowledgment of Paternity or AOP form that has been completed and signed by both parents. Any other birthing and paternity situations will require the help of qualified attorneys to complete and file the necessary paperwork with the court to establish paternity.
If paternity is questioned or disputed, the Office of the Attorney General in Texas offers free, voluntary paternity testing to establish legal paternity for their child. Child support lawyers recommend doing whatever is necessary to establish legal paternity prior to birth or as soon as possible after the birth of the child. When the mother and father do not agree as to the identify of the child’s father, it is possible for a mother to request a court ordered paternity test to establish paternity and legal benefits for both the child and the father.
To protect parental rights, as well as to ensure that every child receives entitled benefits, child support law firms stress the importance of establishing paternity as soon as possible. In some instances, particularly regarding any child custody hearings, a father must establish paternity before an order can be issued. Any questions about establishing legal paternity should be directed to experienced child support attorneys who can advise clients appropriately for their individual circumstances.
Foreman Family Law
307 South Main Street, Suite 201
Bryan TX 77803