Establishing legal paternity is a significant step for many families today. When unmarried parents have a child, additional legal procedures are necessary to determine parental rights. This includes listing the father on the birth certificate and establishing child support, custody, and visitation through a court order if the parents are separated.

If you’re looking to establish paternity to safeguard your parental rights and role in your child’s future, the Woodlands paternity lawyers at Hannah Law are here to assist you. Contact our family law attorneys today at 281-262-1311 to begin the process!

What is Paternity Establishment?

Man talks to boy about possible paternity

In legal terms, establishing paternity involves determining a child’s legitimate father and the associated rights and responsibilities. While all children have a biological father, not all have a legal father. This is where paternity establishment becomes crucial.

What Does Paternity Establishment Do?

Establishing paternity is vital for protecting the rights of both parents.

For fathers:

  • It grants them the right to change the child’s last name.
  • It provides a legal basis for maintaining a relationship with the child and simplifies future parenting arrangements such as custody and support.
  • It enables them to travel with the child and asserts legal rights if there are concerns about the other parent taking the child without consent.

For mothers, establishing paternity allows them:

  • To share parenting responsibilities.
  • To pursue child support from the father when necessary.
  • To access benefits for the child, including medical insurance coverage, life insurance, and social security.

How is Paternity Established?

In Texas, paternity can be established voluntarily or involuntarily through the court system:

Voluntary Establishment

Paternity is often established voluntarily either at birth or shortly afterward. If the parents are married, paternity is automatically assigned to the husband, regardless of biological relation. For unmarried couples, the father does not have legal rights until paternity is established.

If the mother is unmarried, paternity is established at the hospital through an Acknowledgment of Paternity form completed by the biological father. This form can also be completed later and submitted to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

If the mother is married, her husband is presumed to be the legal father. The biological father can only establish paternity if the presumed father waives his parental rights.

Involuntary Establishment

In cases where paternity cannot be established voluntarily, court intervention is necessary. This typically involves obtaining a court order for a genetic test to determine paternity.

The mother can also approach the Department of Child Services, which may refer the case to the county prosecutor. Alternatively, a Petition for Establishment of Paternity can be filed through the court system, initiating legal proceedings to establish paternity.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity offers numerous benefits for both parents and the child:

  • Father-Child Relationship: Establishing paternity lays the foundation for a healthy relationship between the father and child, which is crucial for the child’s well-being.
  • Identity: It ensures that the child knows their family background and helps foster a sense of identity.
  • Financial Support: Paternity establishment is necessary for obtaining child support from the father, ensuring financial stability for the child.
  • Custody & Visitation: It enables fathers to seek custody and visitation rights, facilitating meaningful involvement in the child’s life.
  • Access to Information: Both parents have the right to be informed about legal proceedings involving the child and access their medical, school, and religious records.
  • Medical Benefits: Establishing paternity allows the child to benefit from the father’s medical insurance coverage and access their medical history.

What if I’m Not the Father?

If you suspect you’re not the biological father, it’s advisable not to sign any paternity documents. You can petition the court to challenge paternity and request a genetic test to prove your case.

At Hannah Law, our Woodlands paternity lawyers understand the complexities of paternity cases and are committed to protecting your rights, whether you’re the legal father or not. Contact us today at 281-262-1311 to explore your options and secure your parental rights.

The Importance of Legal Representation

Child support and paternity issues are often contentious and emotionally charged. Seeking legal advice and representation is crucial to navigate these complex matters effectively. Our team at Hannah Law is dedicated to providing compassionate and knowledgeable assistance to clients facing paternity disputes.

How Hannah Law Can Help

Our Woodlands paternity lawyers have extensive experience handling paternity cases and are committed to protecting your rights and interests. Here’s how we can assist you:

  1. Legal Guidance: We’ll provide comprehensive legal guidance on establishing paternity, explaining your rights and options every step of the way.
  2. Representation: Our skilled attorneys will represent you in court proceedings, advocating for your interests and ensuring your voice is heard.
  3. Negotiation: We’ll work to negotiate favorable outcomes, whether it’s securing visitation rights, obtaining child support, or resolving disputes amicably.
  4. Court Proceedings: If your case goes to court, we’ll diligently prepare your case, gather evidence, and present compelling arguments on your behalf.
  5. Support and Empathy: We understand the emotional toll paternity disputes can take on families. Our team provides compassionate support and guidance, helping you navigate the process with empathy and understanding.

Contact Us Today

Jeffrey Hannah & Liz Hannah | Hannah Law, PC

If you’re facing paternity issues or need assistance establishing paternity rights, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Woodlands paternity lawyers at Hannah Law. We’re here to provide the legal support and representation you need to protect your rights and secure your child’s future.

Call us today at 281-262-1311 to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards resolving your paternity matter. Let us help you navigate this challenging time with confidence and peace of mind.

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