In order to obtain child support, paternity must be established. It can be established automatically if the child(ren) are born during a marriage. If the parties are not married, it can be established when the biological father signs an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP). If the father is unsure as to whether he is the biological parent of the child(dren), a DNA test can be conducted; however, if the parties are married, the presumption is that the father is the biological parent.
Why Is Establishing Paternity Important?
Establishing paternity secures a father’s rights as a parent. If parties with a child in common are not legally married and the parties separate, until there is a court order establishing paternity, custody, visitation and child support, neither party has any legal recourse to keep the child or children for extended periods of time, an obligation to pay child support, or to make legal decisions for the the child(ren).
Children have the right to receive financial support from both parents. A court cannot order an alleged father to pay child support until paternity has been established. In addition, children are entitled to benefits, such as social security, insurance, inheritance and veteran’s benefits, from both parents if they are available. A child might not be able to claim benefits from the father, if paternity has not been established.
Want to know more about Texas paternity law? The Uniform Parentage Act is in the Texas Family Code, Chapter 160. You can read it online at www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/. For personalized assistance from Yasmin Kutty, please call 713-766-3513 or complete the form on this page.