There is an old adage that states, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” In Texas, paternity is the legal term for fatherhood, and by establishing it, a man can gain the rights and responsibilities to his biological children. This can have a positive impact on the lives of the children in question, their mothers, and their fathers who now get to have an active role in the child’s life. The process of establishing paternity can be complex, though, no matter if you are a father looking to gain rights to your child, or a mother looking to receive much-needed child support. At Hembree Bell Law Firm, PLLC, we are committed to helping resolve paternity matters on both sides of the coin. Call our Austin paternity lawyers today to book a free case evaluation where we can listen to your concerns and explain your options!
How Is Paternity Established In Texas?
If a mother is married when she gives birth to her child, paternity is automatically granted to her husband, and his name will be listed on the birth certificate. If she is not married, there will be no legal paternity established for the child at the time of their birth. Paternity must be established, at this point, in one of two ways:
Voluntary Paternity: the mother and father voluntarily agree to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form while still in the hospital at the time of the birth, or later on, in which they would mail the form to the Vital Statistics Unit in Austin. The man will then be recognized as the child’s biological, legal father.
Involuntary Paternity: this route involves a court proceeding because either the mother or the father disagree on the paternity of the child. Either party can file a Petition to Adjudicate Parentage in order to initiate the process. A DNA test may ultimately be ordered by the judge to determine paternity of the child.
Why Is Paternity So Important?
There are many reasons why establishing paternity is such an important step to take for all 3 individuals involved.
Benefits to the father include gaining the right to visitation or custody, as well as the right to have a say in all aspects that affect the upbringing of your child, such as their education, medical treatment, religion, and more. The child will also be able to obtain benefits such as health insurance and inheritance.
Benefits to the mother include sharing the responsibilities of parenthood, as well as the financial burden through child support.
Benefits to the child are numerous. Studies show that children who grow up with both parents active in their life – and especially an active father – are less likely to face neglect or abuse, develop emotional or behavioral problems, have poor performance in school, commit criminal acts, develop a dependence on drugs and alcohol, commit suicide, and much more.
Our Experienced Austin Paternity Lawyers Are On Your Side
At Hembree Bell Law Firm, PLLC, families are our passion. Whether you are a father looking to gain rights to your child or a mother seeking the financial support that could improve your child’s quality of life, we have the knowledge and experience to guide you through your paternity issue with ease and speed. We know that legal issues involving children can be difficult emotionally, so we strive to be a pillar of support to you through every step of the process, and develop a relationship built on trust and confidence. Call today to learn more information during your free case evaluation, and let us begin helping you build the life you desire!