Child support in Texas is designed to ensure that children have adequate financial support and that the parents share in the financial responsibilities of the children. Generally, the noncustodial parent pays support to the custodial parent based on that parent’s ability to pay.
If the parents of a child were never married, there are many reasons why a father should establish paternity of his child. Children want to know who their father is and establishing paternity gives both the child and the parent important rights they otherwise would not have.
A child will obtain access to important medical information of his father that can help doctors diagnose certain genetic diseases and possibly help with treatment and prevention. Additionally, a child may be entitled to certain benefits; such as Social Security, veteran’s benefits, health care, or other governmental benefits. Establishing paternity allows a child to inherit through her father and have health insurance coverage through the father’s health insurance policy. A father can share in custody, take part in making decisions for the child, and have possession time with his child when he establishes himself as the legal father of the child.
Establishing Paternity for Child Support
To obtain child support from a father that is not the mother’s husband, she must prove he is the father of the child. When a married couple have a child, both of their names are on the birth certificate, and the husband is the presumed father. When parents are not married to each other, the father’s paternity must be established.
The easiest solution to establish paternity is at the time of birth; the parents can each sign a form called “Acknowledgment of Paternity” while at the hospital. The father’s name will appear on the birth certificate, the hospital will forward the signed documents to the appropriate office, and the man will be the legal father of the child.
Court Ordered Paternity Testing
In some cases, a mother is not sure who the father is, or the alleged father denies that he is the biological father. DNA testing can be done to confirm paternity of the father, but it may take a court proceeding to order DNA testing and establish paternity of the father. When paternity is established in this way, it gives the court authority to order the father to pay child support.
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