Unless you are legally married to the mother of your child, you are going to have to establish paternity if you wish to have any rights over him or her. Establishing paternity gives you rights in the legal sense, but it also helps build emotional ties between parent and child.
Once you establish paternity in Texas, you have the right to pursue custody, visitation or child support, depending on circumstances. Your child, in turn, benefits from knowing his or her father, which often helps foster a stronger sense of identity. By knowing who his or her father is, your son or daughter may also be able to gain access to medical records and similar resources that may prove important down the line. So, how might you go about establishing paternity in Texas?
Methods of establishing paternity
In Texas, you have the option of establishing paternity in one of two ways. You have the choice of either signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity or securing a court order.
Signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity
Arguably the easiest method of establishing paternity in Texas involves having both parents sign an acknowledgment of paternity. If this does not occur at the hospital shortly after birth, you have the option to do so later. Once you sign the form, you have the option of moving forward with a court order for custody, child support or visitation, should you wish to do so.
Securing a court order
If you cannot establish paternity through signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity, you may be able to do so through a court order. Typically, this involves you undergoing DNA testing to determine whether you are, in fact, the father of the child in question.
Knowing who his or her father is has positive effects on a child’s growth and development. By establishing legal paternity over your son or daughter, you are giving yourself the chance to maintain an active and important presence in his or her life.