February 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- What every parent should know about paternity in Texas
Article provided by Philip Placzek, Esq., Attorney at Law
Visit us at http://www.placzeklaw.com/
Paternity, or legal fatherhood, refers to a father's relationship with his child in the eyes of the law. There are a number of reasons why paternity is an important issue for all Texas parents -- mothers as well as fathers.
Legal paternity is more than just biological fatherhood. It establishes a set of rights and responsibilities that exist between a father and his child. In Texas, a child born outside of marriage is not considered to have a legal father unless the parents take steps to establish paternity of the child. This is true regardless of whether the identity of the biological father is known, or whether he has an ongoing relationship with the child or the child's mother.
Custody and visitation
When a child is born to an unmarried man and woman in Texas, the father cannot enforce his right to have custody or contact with the child unless he establishes paternity. Similarly, he does not have a legally enforceable right to be involved in important decisions about the child's care and upbringing. This puts him at risk of being cut out of the child's life if the mother should so choose. It also means that the father may be unable to gain custody in the event that the mother cannot care for the child, for instance due to a serious injury or illness.
Another reason that paternity is such an important issue for Texas families is that an unmarried biological father cannot be required to pay child support unless paternity has been established, making it more difficult to ensure that the child's needs are met. Once paternity is established, the government can take measures to ensure payment of child support even if the father does not cooperate. For instance, if a Texas father fails to make court-ordered child support payments, his wages may be garnished to make up for the missed payments.
In addition to protecting the father's parental rights and ensuring that the child is well provided for, there are a number of other reasons to establish paternity in Texas. For instance, unless paternity has been established, a child of unmarried parents may not be able to receive health insurance or other benefits through his or her father. Establishing paternity also protects the child's right to collect Social Security or veteran's survivor benefits if the father should become disabled or pass away.
While establishing paternity carries great benefits for fathers, mothers and children alike, it is a serious legal matter and should not be undertaken lightly. For a more thorough discussion of the rights and responsibilities of paternity in Texas, or for assistance with the process of establishing paternity, contact an experienced family law attorney.---
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