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Why is it necessary to establish paternity in Texas?

When a child is born in Texas and there's a question as to the paternity, it's important that steps be taken to establish who the biological father is. There are many reasons for this. This is for both the mother and father so the child can be appropriately cared for, can have a relationship with both parents through shared parenting and other legal issues can be clear for the child's future. When it comes to fathers' rights, the first step is to take a paternity test and ensure that the child belongs to the presumed father.

In the state, if a mother and father are not married, the child technically doesn't legally have a father -- this is a difference between biological parenthood and fatherhood. An Acknowledgment of Paternity will provide the child with a legal father. If there is no paternity established, a mother can't secure child support through the courts if the apparent father doesn't pay. On the same token, the fathers' rights cannot be taken into account so he can see and have shared parenting if paternity isn't established.

If paternity is established, the father might be able to add the child to his health insurance and other potential benefits from work or some other source. If the father is receiving Social Security benefits or government benefits of any kind, the establishing of paternity can also make the child eligible. The health of the child might be at stake if there isn't an established biological father. If there are medical problems, knowing whether they've been inherited from the father and if the father can be of assistance in helping the child overcome the illness can be life-saving.

For the mother, father and child, it's imperative that the paternity is established for a multitude of reasons. While this post cannot provide specific legal advice, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the child and relationship of the biological parents, shared parenting is of benefit for the child and that child's future. Knowing the ins and outs of establishing paternity can be achieved with the assistance of a legal professional with extensive knowledge of Texas law.

Source: Attorney General of Texas, "Establishing Paternity," accessed on Oct. 26, 2014

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