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How do you establish paternity as a father in Texas?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2022 | Family Law

As a father, you are in a unique position to provide practical and emotional support for your children. Your role in their life can enrich their childhood and set them up for future success. Unlike with mothers, whose relationship to a child is obvious because of the physical process of pregnancy and delivery, the relationship of a father to a child can be difficult to prove.

Fathers in Texas who want to make use of their parental rights will typically first need to establish paternity. They need to inform the state of Texas that they are the father of the child. What are the most common ways that men establish paternity in Texas?

Through their marital status

Someone who is currently the spouse of a pregnant woman will be the presumptive father of her child when she gets birth. Even if the couple separated or divorced during the pregnancy, if her pregnancy started during the marriage, the state will typically treat the husband as the biological father. With rare exceptions, married fathers can automatically move to have their name included on the birth certificate after the birth of their child.

With the support of the mother

Fathers who don’t marry the mother of their children will need to take an extra step to establish maternity. The simplest route involves the cooperation of the mother.

Either at the hospital after the birth or anytime before the child turns 18, the father and the mother need to sit down together and fill out paperwork. A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity can add a father to the birth certificate regardless of his marital status and can therefore Grant him all of the rights and responsibilities of a father.

With the support of the courts

There are situations in which the mother cannot or will not acknowledge you as the father of a child. Sometimes, there was a tragedy that left the mother dead or incapacitated, meaning she is unable to affirm your genetic relationship to the child. Other times, she does not want to acknowledge you for personal reasons.

The courts can order genetic testing to help you affirm paternity even in a situation where the mother is not alive or is resistant to your efforts to establish maternity. Genetic testing is very accurate and can help you quickly establish paternity. That will then give you the right to ask for visitation, shared custody and other parental rights.

Learning more about the Texas rules that govern custody and paternity matters will help fathers better assert their rights.