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The benefits of establishing paternity in Texas

Establishing paternity. You may not have considered it before but you have now found yourself in a position where it may be beneficial for both you and your child. But this has left you with a number of questions including: what is paternity and what are the benefits of establishing it?

It's these important questions we hope to answer in this week's post.

What is paternity?

Paternity is the legal establishment of fatherhood between a man and his child. This can be done in a number of ways depending on the circumstances. If a couple is married and has a child, the husband is presumed to be the father and paternity is automatically established. With unmarried couples, the process is a little different.

In Texas, if a child is born to an unmarried couple, the man is not automatically assumed to be the legal father. Instead, paternity is established through one of two methods: a signed legal document known as the Acknowledgment of Paternity or a court order.

What are the benefits?

Establishing paternity has a number of benefits for both parents and children alike. Here is a small list to give you an idea:

  • Establishes a legal connection between mother, father and child
  • Establishes and protects parental rights
  • Helps in custody issues
  • Helps to establish support obligations
  • Makes eligibility possible for a parent's benefits (ie: health insurance, Social Security, pensions)
  • Helps establish medical history

A father has just as much of a right to help make decisions in his child's life. By establishing paternity, this becomes legally possible.

Source: The Texas Attorney General, "Handbook for Noncustodial Parents," Accessed Aug. 19, 2014

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