Law Office of Ellen Dixius

Establishing legal fatherhood for unmarried dads

In Texas, when a child is born to an unmarried couple, the law only recognizes the mother. Establishing legal fatherhood requires additional steps. At the Law Office of Ellen Dixius, we often assist clients in paternity disputes and custody rights when there is no legally recognized dad.

According to Texas Access, a biological father has no legal rights to his child if he is not married to the mother. To establish your child’s biological dad as a legal parent, you can both sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form or get a court order naming him the legal father. By establishing paternity, the child can benefit in several ways:

  • He or she has access to their dad’s family medical history
  • It creates a legal connection
  • Dad’s name appears on their birth certificate
  • When dad dies, your child may collect death benefits or an inheritance

A legally recognized father can pay child support and put your child on his health insurance. If your ex disputes that he is the biological father, a court-mandated paternity test can determine whether he is or not. A man can also request a court-ordered DNA if he wants to claim legally recognized paternity, with or without your approval.

Once he establishes himself as the biological father, he may request joint custody and take responsibility for conservatorship, medical care and child support. The court may mandate a parenting plan, outlining the amount of time each parent spends with the child you and dad cannot agree on the visitation time. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.

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