When a couple is married at the time of a child’s birth, paternity is presumed in the eyes of the law. Paternity refers to identifying the legal father, and paternity must be legally established if the parents are not married. While every child has a biological father – whether he is known to the child or not – the same is not true when it comes to having a legal father. The establishment of paternity awards the father with parental rights and responsibilities and can be beneficial to everyone involved.
If you have questions or concerns regarding paternity, an experienced Fort Worth paternity attorney can help.
Paternity in the State of Texas is generally established in one of the following ways:
Once paternity is established, important rights and responsibilities generally come into play.
Establishing who a child’s father is can benefit the child, the father, and the mother in primary ways.
It is well established that children’s best interests are supported when they’re allowed to form solid relationships with both parents, and establishing who a child’s father is is the first step in the process. In fact, this aspect of paternity can prove invaluable. The child also, however, benefits in more practical ways, including the following:
Paternity affords the father both rights and responsibilities as a parent. These responsibilities include paying child support, and the rights can extend to having a regular parenting time schedule with the child. Few would deny that the rewards that come from being a parent are difficult to overstate, which can make the establishment of paternity a real gift for the father.
In Texas, child support is based on a wide range of factors that include the primary concerns of each parent’s earning and the number of overnights each parent has with the child. Child support is intended to spread the cost of supporting a child financially between both parents – according to their ability to pay. Ultimately, the parent whose earnings are higher generally makes the child support payments.
Parenting time refers to how both parent’s divide their time with their child. Texas courts base parenting time determinations on the best interests of the children, and as such, they only cut one parent’s access off when there is an important reason – that is based on protecting the child – for doing so. As such, the establishment of paternity often leads to parenting time for the father.
Some of the best interest factors the court turns to when it makes parenting time decisions include:
The mother can also benefit considerably from the establishment of paternity. To begin, the child support payments she receives provide her with additional resources to raise and care for the shared child. Further, the father’s parenting time schedule can afford the mother a much-needed break in her single parenting routine, which can be exceptionally challenging. Finally, the enrichment the child gains from having a relationship with their father can also be very meaningful to the mother.
Paternity cases are highly important and beneficial for everyone involved. However, you need the right legal representation to ensure you protect your parental rights regarding child custody, support, and related issues. The legal team at MBH Fort Worth | Family Law assists both mothers and fathers with paternity-related matters. Never hesitate to reach out and contact us online for more information about how we can help you today.