A woman’s rights as a mother begin essentially as soon as she knows she is pregnant. A father’s rights can be a little different. He will have certain rights after the birth of the child. He will also have certain responsibilities. How he establishes and asserts those rights will depend on his marital status.
The men married to pregnant women are automatically included on a child’s birth certificate in Texas. Unmarried fathers will have to take an extra step to establish paternity and protect their legal rights as fathers.
The mother can acknowledge you as the father
After the birth of the child, you and the mother can agree to fill out paternity paperwork. An Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP) will allow you to include your name on the birth certificate.
You don’t have to fill the form out at the hospital to formally establish paternity. You and the mom can agree to execute these documents at any point until the child turns 18. If she doesn’t want to acknowledge that you were the father, then you may need to request the help of the family court.
Contested paternity may require a genetic test
If the mother of your child won’t agree to acknowledge you as the father, you may have to prove your claim. A genetic test is an obvious way to prove your paternity, but the mother may not cooperate with your request to validate your relationship with the child. You may have to ask the courts for help.
The court can order paternity testing that can help you prove once and for all that you are the father of the child and establish your parental rights. Learning more about establishing paternity and your rights as a parent in Texas will help you protect your relationship with your child.