How to Establish Paternity
Establishing paternity can benefit every person in a child’s life. The process of establishing paternity means to determine the legal father of a child, along with the rights and obligations that come with that moniker. In Texas, there are two ways to establish paternity: through a voluntary acknowledgement or by court-ordered genetic testing. At Rick Davis & Associates, we understand the importance of establishing paternity for the child in your life and can help you through the process. Call the office or contact us today in Bryan to schedule a consultation for your family law needs.
It is important to note that in cases in which a child is born to a married couple, the husband is presumed by the legal father of the child unless proven otherwise. The husband’s name will be put on the child’s birth certificate, and no other means of paternity are necessary for that fact to be established. When a child is born to a couple that is unwed or to a single mother, one of the methods of establishing paternity is required to create legal rights and obligations for a father.
The easiest and most cost effective way to establish paternity of a child is through a voluntary acknowledgement. An Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) is a legal document that both biological parents can sign to establish the paternity of a child. This can often be done at the hospital where the child is born or the form can be filled out later by both parents and sent to the Texas Office of Vital Statistics. Both parents must agree and sign the form in order to voluntarily establish paternity in this way.
Court Ordered Paternity Testing
If one parent refuses to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, the other method of establishing paternity is through court ordered paternity testing. This is a genetic test ordered by the court that tests both the alleged biological father and the child to see if they are related. The test is a non-invasive cheek swab that is sent to a state laboratory for testing. If the test comes back that the man is the child’s father, paternity can be legally established.
The Benefits of Establishing Paternity
There are many benefits to establishing paternity for a child. For one, establishing paternity allows the child to develop a relationship with both of their parents. It allows the child to know about their medical history on both sides as well as their full family history. Establishing paternity can also give the child access to life insurance, health insurance, Social Security benefits, veterans’ benefits, and inheritance rights.
The father benefits from establishing paternity because he receives the legal right to spend time with his child. He is able to assert custody or visitation rights with the child if he is not in a relationship with the mother. The mother also benefits from establishing paternity because she can request child support payments from the father to help cover the daily living expenses of their child.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
To learn more about establishing paternity for a child in Texas, call or contact Rick Davis & Associates today at (979)779-4357.