Understanding the Importance of Establishing Paternity in Texas
Paternity is the legal term for fatherhood, providing a legally recognized relationship between a father and their child. In Texas, paternity is automatically established when the biological parents of a child are married at the time of birth.
This recognition provides children with legal rights to parental support such as child’s insurance benefits, inheritance access, health, and medical records as well as contact rights with their parent.
When a child is born to single parents in Texas, however, the law does not consider the biological father to be a legal parent until paternity is established. This can be done through voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or establishing “clear and convincing evidence” such as DNA testing. Until paternity is officially established either by court order or signed voluntary acknowledgment, then that parent does not have the right to custody or visitation with the child even if they are proven to be biologically related. Establishing paternity provides security for both parents and children involved in these circumstances and is an important step for all parties involved in Texas.How is Paternity Established in Texas
Paternity is an integral part of establishing a legal Guardian-Child relationship, as it provides the child with important rights, including inheritance and filing claims on parental insurance. In Texas, there are three primary ways to establish paternity: marriage, acknowledgment of paternity, and judicial determination.
When a married couple has a child in the state of Texas, paternity is automatically presumed if the husband is the biological father. No additional steps or legal paperwork must be taken in order for the presumption of paternity to be recognized by the court. For unmarried couples who both agree that one person is the biological father of their child, they may sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) form in order to legally establish paternity. This form must be signed by both parents and witnessed by at least one third-party such as a notary public before being filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics Office in order for it to be validated. Lastly, when paternity is contested or the father does not agree to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form, then a judge will make a determination regarding paternity based on the evidence presented during a court hearing.What are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity can bring many benefits to a father and mother, as well as the child. When paternity is established, it essentially establishes a legal bond between the father and the child, standing in place of a birth certificate with both parents’ names on it. Establishing paternity gives the child access to parental rights, including health care coverage and access to the father’s family medical information. It also allows for the easier establishment of child support payments, guaranteeing that any financial help granted to the primary custodian of the child will enable them to provide adequate care for their offspring.
Additionally, establishing paternity is beneficial if something were to happen to either parent – such as death or imprisonment. In those cases, without an established legal connection between a father and child, inheritance could be affected or limitations could be placed on visiting rights. By having this established beforehand though, those consequences can be avoided and further stress upon families can be prevented. Legal proceedings involving custody and parenting time may also require that proof of paternity be established before proceedings begin; having it documented beforehand enables smoother transitions for parents when negotiating these arrangements outside or inside a courtroom.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.