We live in a modern world where parents are encouraged to spend time with their children. Even so, unmarried fathers who no longer have a relationship with the mom may still get the short end of the stick when it comes to parenting time.
Since mothers give birth to babies, there is no doubt about their parentage. Fathers seeking custody rights must often prove they are the child’s parent if they were never married to the mother. This means they must establish their paternity legally.
What is at stake?
Your right to access and spend meaningful time with your children could be compromised if you don’t take steps to establish your paternity. More importantly, however, it could harm your kids.
Research shows that children of all ages benefit from quality father engagement.
- Better overall health in infants
- Reduced risk of psychological issues
- Improved gender identity development
- Reduced depression in young women and girls
- Reduced delinquency and criminal conduct in male children
Kids who spend meaningful time with both parents are generally happier, more confident and better grounded than children with an absent father.
How can you establish paternity in Texas?
When both parents agree, they need only sign a document called an Acknowledgement of Paternity. Unfortunately, some mothers insist that someone else is the child’s father. In such situations, a DNA test can settle the matter definitively.
Once you have established your paternity, you should consider pursuing court orders that clearly outline your child custody and visitation rights. Not only does this ensure continuing contact with your kids, but court orders also protect you and your children from future parentage disputes.