The Basics of Paternity Establishment

The Basics of Paternity Establishment

March 8, 2021

Establishing paternity in Lubbock, TX is important for a number of different reasons. If you’re the father, it gives you the chance to have a legal say in your child’s life. If you’re the mother, establishing paternity is key to getting child support. In an ideal world, both parents would be happy to acknowledge their child and contribute to the cost of raising them. In many cases, however, conflicts exist between the parents.

Here’s an overview of the paternity establishment process, and why it’s so important.

How to establish paternity

If a woman is married at the time of giving birth, her husband is automatically presumed to be the father. That can get complicated if the couple is separated or in the process of divorce, and the mother is dating someone else.

When the parents are unmarried, the father doesn’t have any legal rights to his child until paternity is established. There are two ways to do this. First, you can sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity. It has to be signed by both parents before it takes effect.

If one parent is unwilling to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity, you can establish paternity by court order. Either the mother or the father can request a suit to determine paternity. This may involve a DNA test, and is usually necessary when a parent either doesn’t want to acknowledge fatherhood or there are multiple potential fathers.

Working with an attorney is important if you find yourself in the latter situation. Whether you want to acknowledge your own child or you need the father to pay child support, an attorney can ensure that all the paperwork is filed appropriately, and will support you during the hearings.

Importance of establishing paternity

Whether you’re the mother or father, establishing paternity is important. As the father, you do not have a legal right to be in your child’s life unless you establish paternity. As the mother, you won’t have a right to child support without a declaration of paternity.

Since raising children can be quite expensive, mothers should pursue support whenever possible. Even if the father doesn’t want to be part of the child’s life, the state takes child-rearing very seriously—he will still be responsible for contributing to the costs of raising his child, even without physical or legal custody.

As the father, establishing paternity gives you the right to seek physical or legal custody and/or visitation. Depending on your relationship with the child’s mother, you might feel safe informally agreeing that you can visit your child, and pay a lower amount of child support than a court might require. However, that can change at any time. Without legal documentation, you have no right to a relationship with the child. It’s always wise to have paternity established, even if you have an informal co-parenting agreement in place.

If you need assistance with paternity establishment in Lubbock, TX, get in touch with The Law Office of Rob Biggers to arrange a consultation. We look forward to discussing the specifics of your case.

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