Understand the Legal Significance of Paternity in Texas
When a child is born to married parents, the law automatically assumes that the husband is the child's father. This is the quickest and easiest way to establish paternity in Texas. However, if the parents are unmarried, then it becomes necessary to determine paternity through other means.
At first glance, this may not seem like an important issue. That's especially true when the father does not dispute that the child is his and wants to care for and provide financial support for the child. However, there may be advantages to legally establishing paternity.
Legal Advantages of Establishing Paternity
For instance, when a father makes a legal statement about a child, it means that the child is eligible for certain benefits. That child may legally claim the father's social security benefits or his veteran's benefits. Legally recognized children also have better access to health care through their father's insurance. Also, they are eligible to receive child support payments.
The father also benefits from legally claiming the child because this establishes his right to have visitation. If the mother and father are no longer together, the father can petition the court to help him enforce his rights as a parent. This is true when and the mother is trying to restrict access to the child.
Consider Signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP)
One of the easiest ways for a father to legally claim a child in Texas is by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity, or AOP. These forms are available at all hospitals. Filling out the form at the time of the birth makes sense because the hospital takes care of all processing. This way the parents don't have to worry about mailing in the form when they are busy with the baby.
The Father's Name Should be on the Birth Certificate
Signing the AOP at the hospital makes sense. This is because the information is provided to the government at the same time as the data for the birth certificate. In addition, there are no fees involved this way. Also, the father's name should be on the original birth certificate.
Can an AOP be Signed if the Father is Not Present at the Hospital?
Yes, however, this may involve a small cost, and the parents may want to order a new birth certificate.
Questions About Paternity or an Acknowledgement of Paternity?
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