Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Texas

The relaxing of social norms that has been occurring the past few decades has made it somewhat more common for unmarried parents to raise children together with no major issues, disputes, or conflicts. As long as things are amicable, it might not seem necessary to legally establish paternity. However, as this blog will lay out, there are numerous benefits to establishing paternity of a child—even if the parents have a great relationship. 

First, What Does Paternity Mean?

When we talk about the benefits of establishing paternity, we are not just referring to biological paternity (although that is important in the context of establishing paternity when one parent contests the matter). Being the legal father of a child gives you certain rights; it also gives the parents certain legal avenues to establish the guidelines for conservatorship, periods of possession, and, yes, even money matters. 

There are three basic ways that legal paternity can be established:

  • A husband who is married at the time his wife gives birth is designated as the legal, presumed father of the child. 
  • The mother and an unmarried father can sign the “Acknowledgment of Paternity” form at the hospital when the baby is born. You can also sign this form after your child’s birth, but it must be signed at specific locations, such as the hospital of birth or the attorney general’s office. 
  • One parent can go to court and petition for legal paternity to be established. Usually, the process consists of performing DNA tests on the child, mother, and father. If the alleged father is determined by DNA testing to be the biological father, that is usually all the court needs to determine legal paternity. 

Why is it Worthwhile to Establish Legal Paternity?

Being the legal parent of a child comes with a slew of rights for the parents. The parents each have the right to receive medical and educational information about the child. The parents have a duty of financial support, which usually means one parent paying child support to the other. The parents each have the right to periods of possession of the child, and those can be established by the court, especially when the other parent is withholding possession. 

There are also numerous benefits for the child when paternity is established and court orders are entered:

  • The child can be the beneficiary of his parents’ life insurance policies, Veterans benefits, and Social Security. 
  • The child can have stability and consistency in set periods of possession. 
  • The child now benefits from the involvement or presence of both parents in his or her life. 

Your Family is Important

Being embroiled in a dispute over legal paternity of your child can be utterly heartbreaking. Whatever the reason for the dispute, there are so many reasons to keep fighting. Fraser, Wilson & Bryan is dedicated to helping parents resolve all manner of family law matters, including establishing paternity and asserting parental rights. Give us a call at 254-965-7270 to discuss your options with us; we are currently offering free consultations to prospective clients!