Child support is a complex issue, but it can be particularly complicated for Texas parents who were not married at the time of the birth of their child. When the father's name is not on the birth certificate, it can bring a host of complications, particularly those that pertain to financial support and custody.
Establishing paternity is usually in the best interests of your child, whether you are a mother seeking regular child support payments or a father hoping to clearly outline your parental rights and responsibilities. It is possible to establish paternity either through the agreement of both parents or with certain tests.
Paternity and child support
Even if you, as the biological father, are already paying child support, you will find it beneficial to go ahead and establish paternity. Not only does this provide security for the mother in that it ensures you will continue to pay support, it ensures certain benefits for your children. Establishing paternity can do the following:
- Ensure the basic needs of your children are met
- Provide clear knowledge of medical issues, such as genetic diseases potentially inherited from the father
- Allow child to have inheritance rights from both parents
Establishing paternity allows both biological parents to have a clear understanding of their financial responsibilities and expectations, in addition to the many benefits it can provide your child.
Paternity and its impact on child custody
Both biological parents have the right to regular access and time with his or her children. By establishing paternity, a father would have a clear right to regular visitation or some type of custody. If the two parents are unable to come to an agreement on the issue, the matter can go before the court.
One parent cannot withhold visitation from the other parent because he or she did not pay child support and vice versa. When custody or visitation disputes arise, you would be wise to seek a timely and beneficial resolution to your parental concerns.
Protecting your kids and your parental rights
As a parent, you want to do what is best for your children. As a mom, that may mean working for the support you need to take care of your children. As a father, that could mean seeking a clear and active role in the life of your kids.
Paternity can be a complicated issue, but you have the right to seek to protect both your parental rights and the best interests of your child, whatever that may mean for your individual situation.