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In Texas, there are a few different ways a man can be designated as a the legal father of a child. First, he could be presumed to be the father as he is married to the mother of the child and the time the child is born. He could be adjudicated by the court to be the father by petitioning the court to establish paternity. Paternity could also be established through genetic screening. In some cases, the mother and father of the child could sign a document called an “Acknowledgement of Paternity.” Paternity can also be established though adoption.

Now that you know some of the ways paternity can be established in Texas, the question really becomes why someone would need to or want to establish paternity regarding a child. Well, there are a number of reasons for this, of course. Primarily, it is important to establish paternity if you want to be legally entitled to the rights and responsibilities that come with being designated as the legal father of a child.

Rights of a Legal Father in Texas

The Texas Family Code grants legal fathers both rights and duties regarding their child. In fact, both the mother and the father of a child have these legal rights and responsibilities unless a court order is put in place that modifies them. One of the main ways parental rights and responsibilities are created or amended is when parents divorce and the court puts something like a custody order in place restricting one parent’s access or parenting time with the child. It should be noted here, however, that Texas presumes that it is in the child’s best interest to have ongoing contact with both parents. This holds true unless the parent shows an inability to act in the child’s best interest or lacks the wherewithal to act in the best interests of the child.

Legal fathers in Texas have the right to physical possession of their child. Put otherwise, they have the right to custody of their child. Legal fathers also have the right to direct the moral upbringing of their child and the religious upbringing of the child. The right to make medical decisions, express treatment preferences, decide on education options, and more, all come as part of the rights of a legal father regarding the raising of their child.

A legal father will also have a number of duties regarding their child pursuant to the Texas Family Code. For starters, the legal father has duty to care and support the child. This includes providing the child with clothing, food, and shelter as well as medical and dental care. The duty of care of the child also includes the duty to provide the child with an education. There is also a duty to protect the child as well as provide reasonable discipline of the child.

Family Law Attorneys

Have you considered establishing legal paternity of your child? The team at Navarrete & Schwartz can help you do just that. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.