It can be legally beneficial to establish paternity for all parties involved. It ensures that the father is not denied his parental rights, particularly if the father and mother separate. Also, by establishing paternity, the child can receive benefits such as child support, insurance, Social Security, and veteran survivor benefits. Here’s more about how to establish paternity and what happens once paternity is established.
The Paternity Process
Paternity can be established in two main ways: voluntarily or through a court order. The voluntary way is for parents to sign and file an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP). To complete this process, you must use an AOP-certified entity. There is no cost for this service, and the paperwork may be completed at any point in time of the child’s life. Be aware, though, that you must have your AOP filed before you can seek child support. When the AOP is complete, it should be filed with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit (VSU).
If you’re unsure of who the father actually is, or if there is potential for family violence, a court order might be more appropriate. In this case, paternity might be established with help from a family law attorney or by opening an Office of the Attorney General (OAG) child support case.
What Happens When Paternity Is Established
Once paternity is established, the listed father becomes the legal father. This means that his name appears on the child’s birth certificate, and he is guaranteed all the rights that come with fatherhood. Should he and the child’s mother ever separate, he would be eligible to request visitation, joint custody, or even sole custody of the child.
Plus, when paternity is established, it means that the child will be eligible to receive benefits from the father. Health insurance, Social Security, and veteran survivor benefits are just some of the benefits that a child could receive. On the other hand, once paternity is established, it’s possible for the mother to file for child support.
Get Help From a Professional
Any time you have to file legal documents, it can be tricky. It gets even more challenging when you have to file a court order first. That’s why it’s best to get help from a professional if you’re wanting to establish paternity in Texas.
Cheryl Alsandor is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She and her team are passionate about helping people through the legal process so that they can get the resolution that they seek. Click here to find out more about how our experienced, reliable legal team can help you establish paternity in Texas.