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Understanding Texas Paternity Laws: What You Need to Know

Understanding Texas Paternity Laws: What You Need to Know Establishing paternity in Texas is an important step for both parents and their children. When paternity has been established, it ensures that the father shares responsibility for the child, holds certain rights to the child, and provides vital familial benefits. Establishing paternity also helps to ensure that children receive the financial support they need, as well as inheritance privileges from their fathers.

In Texas, establishing paternity can be done voluntarily with both parties signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form at a hospital or birthing center immediately following the birth of a child. Parents can also establish paternity through court action. In this case, either an alleged or presumed parent will go to court with the purpose of verifying their biological relationship to their child or to refute it depending prove by evidence such as previous court order history and/or genetic testing results. Regardless of how parental status is legally established in Texas, it is important that all children have their parents’ identity verified regardless if married or unmarried so that each can take full responsibility for raising them correctly.

How Do You Establish Paternity in Texas?

Paternity in Texas can be established both voluntarily and involuntarily. If the father and mother agree that the father is in fact the biological parent, a form called an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) must be signed to make it official. This form can usually be signed at the hospital when the baby is born or kicked off at a later date with either parent sending it to the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin. Those who wait until after the hospital has already sent out the birth certificate have to pay a fee as part of changing said document. The AOP is readily available from hospitals, local birth registrars, Attorney General's Child Support Office, and even from the Vital Statistics Unit itself.

When looking into establishing paternity in Texas, it is important to note that if this process isn’t done by way of mutual agreement between both parents then it requires a court order – aka forcibly. Other than that however much of what one needs to know about paternity agreements boils down to having access to – and properly filling out – an AOP form; something easily achievable with just a little bit of searching.

Why Should Either Parent Establish Paternity?

Establishing paternity is an important step in providing children with the care and security they need. There are many benefits to both parents and the child when paternity is established. With paternity established, the child has a legally recognized father who will be responsible for their care and welfare, as well as access to financial support from both parents. Establishing paternity also gives a child a strong sense of identity as they now know who their father is, including access to important medical history records and family histories.

The mother of the child also stands to benefit from establishing paternity as she will have legal recourse for financial assistance during or after the parenting process. Additionally, both parents can build an emotional connection with their child by being able to share memories, experiences, holidays, and other family traditions that would not be possible without this recognition of legal rights established through paternity. Finally, upon establishment of paternity children are more likely to maintain contact with their fathers over time which can lead to long-term positive outcomes for all parties involved including financial stability and healthy self-esteem for the child.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Texas

An experienced family law attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can help you explain and navigate the entire case process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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