Establishing paternity is a legal process that brings clarity and benefits to both unmarried parents of a child, and to the child as well. The legal process provides paternity rights for both parents.
To the mother, paternity makes it possible to request child support, to get the father involved on an ongoing basis.
To the father, paternity provides access to the child, whom he otherwise has no visitation rights to know or even see.
To the child, the benefits are greatest of all. He or she obtains financial support, inheritance rights, vital medical and genetic information, and best of all the presence and care of another loving parent.
Just because a father’s name may appear on a child’s birth certificate does not mean he has any paternity rights, like custody rights under the law, or that the mother can ask him for financial support. You must actually establish paternity in Texas before gaining access to those rights.
How To Establish Paternity In Texas
Establishing paternity can be quite simple. Parents can either file an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) with the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics, or file a suit to establish paternity in court. The court will generally ask for a DNA test—a cotton swab swipe of the inner cheek.
Once this procedure is complete, the father will have certain paternity rights, including access to his child according to a visitation and parenting plan schedule set up by the court. The other parent may contest visitation in some circumstances. The father will also have child support obligations under Texas law.
Asserting Father’s Rights for Clients in Texas
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