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Establishing Paternity in Texas

 Posted on May 17,2024 in Family Law

TX family lawyerWhen a woman has a baby, she is recognized as the mother in the hospital. If she has a husband at the time of the birth, he is automatically considered the baby’s father without any need for him to prove this. When a baby is born out of wedlock, the mother’s status is still recognized, but the father has no automatic recognition. In order to have any officially recognized relationship with the baby, he needs to carry out a process known as establishing paternity. In other words, he needs to prove that he is the father. While some common misconceptions about being legally recognized as a child’s father have kept some men from establishing their paternity, there are many ways it can benefit you and your child. If you are about to become a father and you are not married to the child’s mother, speak with a qualified Parker County, TX paternity lawyer to find out more.

How Does Paternity Work in Texas?

There are two main ways paternity can be established in Texas:

  • Voluntarily: This is when the father willingly carries out the legal procedure of becoming recognized as the father of a baby whose mother he is not married to at the time of birth. The process is fairly straightforward, especially if the mother is also willing to let you have legal recognition.
  • Involuntarily: If the father tries to avoid being recognized as the father, the mother can appeal to get a court order forcing him to take a paternity test. If the test shows that he is the biological father, he will be subject to all the obligations that a father has.

The Biggest Misconception about Paternity

One of the main reasons unmarried fathers sometimes avoid establishing paternity is that they think the only outcome is that they will be forced to pay child support. Some men do not want to make these payments, and others feel they would help cover all the childcare costs regardless of what the court tells them to do, and they prefer acting freely.

However, paternity means much more than child support alone. When you are recognized as the father, you are granted legal parenting rights and can also have a say in important decisions that affect the child’s healthcare, religion, education, and more.

Paternity also means that the child has legal authority to access your medical information that could be relevant to him and can be eligible for any death benefits you may leave behind, including being recognized as your next of kin for inheritance purposes. Of course, there are also emotional benefits. Knowing that you are her father rather than feeling you are ashamed of her can have a wonderful impact on her emotional well-being.

Contact a Texas Paternity Attorney

If you are expecting a baby out of wedlock, speak with an experienced Palo Pinto, TX paternity lawyer to discuss whether establishing paternity is the right move. Call The Law Offices of Kary L. Key at 817-599-6969 so we can help you understand your rights and advocate for your interests.

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