Establishing paternity and protecting your rights as a father is an important step that is shown to be beneficial for both the father and the children. But the legal path to get there is not always clear and can be overwhelming. Learn how a paternity attorney can help you and why representing yourself in a paternity case may not always work in your favor.
What Rights Do Fathers Have in Texas?
When the court determines a man is the legal father of a child, he is given a set of parental rights and responsibilities. Some of the most important rights earned by the father of a child are the right to have physical possession of the child and the right to guide the child’s moral and religious upbringing. A father also has the duty to care for and support the child, providing for the child’s basic needs and emotional well-being. These rights and duties are the same as the ones awarded to the mother.
How Does Establishing Paternity Benefit the Children?
Once paternity is established, the father’s name will be on the child’s birth certificate. This allows the child to access important resources such as health care provided through the father’s employer, for example. The child will also be eligible to receive VA benefits, social security, inheritances, life insurance proceedings, and other financial benefits. In addition, it helps the child form a strong emotional bond with the father, allowing both parents to play a role in raising the child.
What Can a Paternity Attorney Do to Help My Case?
If you were not married to the mother of your child at the time the child was born, you will need to take a few legal steps to establish yourself as the legal father of your child. An attorney can help you file the appropriate forms so you can claim your rights as a father.
In addition, if a paternity action needs to be filed, an attorney can ensure you have the proper legal grounds worded and documented the right way. If you are going through a divorce, a paternity attorney in Bellaire can help ensure fairness in determining parental responsibility, timesharing, and child support.
Is It a Good Idea to Represent Myself in a Paternity Case?
While you do have the right to represent yourself in a paternity case, it may not be in your best interest to do so. The laws can be complex and confusing at times, and you may appear unprepared in the eyes of the court. Working with a family law and paternity attorney such as the ones at ALP Law Firm in Bellaire, TX, can give you better chances of a favorable outcome for you and your children.