Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

No Paternity Acknowledgement, No Legal Father

With Father’s Day this past Sunday, we will be taking a look at the family law issues that impact fathers this week. Today we start at the beginning – paternity. Paternity is an extremely important matter that new mothers and fathers need to take care of as soon as possible after the birth of their children. If a newborn’s parents are not married, Texas law considers the baby as having no legal father.

Paternity for unmarried parents

The simplest way for a mother and father to ensure that the baby has a legal father is to sign an acknowledgement of paternity (“AOP”) either before the mother gives birth (both parents can sign an AOP form, and the mother can bring it to the hospital) or just afterwards. The hospital can take care of everything at that time and send off the AOP to the Bureau of Vital Statistics to make it official.

Why is acknowledging important for unmarried parents?

If the baby does not have a legal father, the biological father does not exist in the eyes of the law. This hurts both the mother and the father. Mothers and their babies may not be eligible for certain government assistance programs. Additionally, unacknowledged fathers have no visitation or child custody rights, but they can be pursued by the state for child support.

Acknowledging paternity is not often so straightforward, however. Are you a mother or father who has had trouble with paternity acknowledgement? Our Houston child custody lawyers can explain to you what options you have.

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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