Diligence, Respect And Compassion In Texas And Oklahoma
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Family Law
  4.  » The importance of establishing paternity

The importance of establishing paternity

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Family Law |

Welcoming a child into the world is an exciting time for many families. There are well wishes and plans for this tiny person’s future.

One of the most crucial steps is establishing paternity, for numerous reasons.

How is paternity established?

Paternity is the legal acknowledgment of the biological relationship between a father and his child. It’s relatively straightforward if the couple is married, as paternity is automatically established with the husband being recognized as the legal father.

However, if the couple is unmarried, paternity isn’t automatic and must be legally established. In Texas, there are two primary ways:

  1. Voluntary acknowledgment: Both parents sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This is usually done at the hospital at birth but can also be completed and filed later.
  2. Court order: A court order may be necessary if either parent disputes paternity. This typically involves genetic testing to confirm parentage.

There are several reasons why establishing paternity is so important, such as:

  • It gives the father legal rights towards his child, including the right to seek custody or visitation.
  • It helps establish the responsibility of child support to cover the healthcare, education and daily living expenses of raising a child.
  • The child will have access to the father’s medical history, which is vital for preventative healthcare and can be crucial in certain health situations.
  • It gives the child access to certain benefits, such as social security and veteran’s benefits, and the right to an inheritance from the father.
  • It contributes to the child’s sense of identity and emotional well-being.

It’s easy to overlook the importance of having the father’s name on the birth certificate. However, with that legal acknowledgment, both the child and the father can experience the multiple benefits and the bond that comes with having an established legal relationship.