If you and your partner have children together, it may not matter much
socially whether or not you are married. You may get a few passing glances
here and there, but staying unmarried isn’t as uncommon as it used to be.
The problem happens when legal paternity comes up. Believe it or not, paternity
is one of the most common family law issues in the state. Generally, if
parents are married to each other when the child is born, the state will
assume the husband is the legal father of the child. His name will be
on the child’s birth certificate, and he will have an equal parental
responsibility to share with the mother.
However, not all parents marry. If a child is born to an unmarried couple,
the father isn’t legally a father until paternity is established.
Fathers can establish paternity voluntarily by signing an Acknowledgement
of Paternity form or involuntary through a court order.
Establishing paternity can help children have a stronger connection with
both parents, can help a child learn more about their family history if
the father is no longer in the picture, and can help both parents provide
medical insurance and other benefits through employment. For example,
a man who is legally the father of a child can put his child on his health
Likewise, in the event the couple splits up, establishing paternity means
a man is obligated to provide for his child. Even if unmarried, a legal
father to a child must provide child custody payments or have physical
custody of his child if the court decides it is in the child’s best interest.
If you need help establishing the paternity of your child, talk to one
of our skilled
Houston family law attorneys.
The Law Office of Kathryn Marteeny has more than 30 years of legal experience helping families throughout
Texas with their legal problems. Let us see how we can assist you with yours.
Talk to us in a consultation by calling us at (713) 936-2300 or
filling out our online form. We look forward to hearing from you.