For some parents, establishing paternity is a critical part of ensuring their legal right to a relationship with their child. These cases can be complex, especially when parents do not agree on the best interests of their child. If you are struggling with paternity concerns, you should reach out to the family attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates. A Houston paternity lawyer could help you through these legal proceedings.

What is Paternity?

Under Texas law, paternity is legal fatherhood. It helps to establish child support, custody arrangements, and other parental rights and obligations. It is important to note that if a child is born out of wedlock, that child has no legal father until paternity is established. Parents that are married to each other at the time of their child’s (or children’s) birth do not need to establish paternity.

Parents who are unmarried, however, may need to establish legal paternity for a father to claim his parental rights and obligations. It is often helpful to seek the assistance of a Houston lawyer experienced in paternity law to clarify the process.

What are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity?

There are many benefits to establishing paternity, especially for the child. Paternity establishes a legal connection between a child and father, adds the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate, protects a child’s right to benefits upon the event of their father’s death (including inheritance), and allows the child access to the father’s family medical history.

It can also benefit the parents, as establishing paternity is required before asking the court to order custody, parenting time, or child support. This means that a mother may not seek child support from a father until paternity is established. Alternatively, a father has no right to time with his children unless he goes through this legal process. Those considering a paternity suit should speak with an experienced Houston lawyer to better understand the potential benefits of legally establishing the identity of a father.

How is Paternity Established?

There is more than one way to establish legal fatherhood: either voluntarily or involuntarily by court order. If a father voluntarily claims his child, both parents must sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity form and file it with the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin. Then, the father’s name can be added to the child’s birth certificate. It is important to note that if the parents are married when that child was born, the husband’s paternity is presumed, and he is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate.

When a father refuses to legally claim his child through the paternity process, a parent may require help from a Houston lawyer. If both parents fail or refuse to sign an Acknowledgment of Paternity, or do not appear to answer the court, then the court may order that legal fatherhood is established in the interest of the child. The court can do so through medical records, DNA testing, and other processes.

Speak with a Houston Paternity Attorney

At Angela Faye Brown & Associates, we strive to attain the best results for your children. Whether you need to establish or dispute paternity, we can help you navigate the process and avoid common missteps. Contact a Houston paternity lawyer today to learn more about how an attorney can support you and protect your rights.