When there is a question regarding whether or not you’re a child’s father, you need to know why it’s important to establish paternity. This could alter your life in a big way, and it’s crucial to take control of the situation as much as you can. If you need help establishing paternity – or challenging it – then Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC, Houston family lawyers, can assist you.
Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC are certified in mediation. We take a team approach to ensure our clients reach solutions that work for their entire families, and are devoted solely to the practice of family law. We are fierce advocates for our clients and we’d be happy to help you with your paternity case. Reach out to us today for an initial consultation.
It’s critical to establish paternity for a few different reasons. The first one is that if you are indeed the father of your child, you could have a legal right to joint custody or, at the very least, visitation. Additionally, you could modify your current child custody agreement, and get an official order for child support. If you had primary custody, you would be owed child support and wouldn’t have to pay for your child’s care all on your own.
You could add your name to your child’s birth certificate, let your child see your side of the family’s genetic history, and help your child gain access to benefits like inheritance, veteran’s benefits, life insurance, Social Security, and health insurance.
Establishing paternity could end up having a very positive effect on your relationship with the child’s other parent. They may be happy to have you in their lives and excited that you want to spend time with your child. They may also be relieved that you want to share the responsibility of raising your child.
Of course, there are many emotional benefits of establishing paternity, too. You will have a relationship with your child, and they may feel more safe and secure if they know you. You could have some much-needed bonding time and introduce your child to their half-siblings or stepsiblings, if they have any. All around, it could be highly beneficial to you and your child and ensure a much brighter future for both of you.
Fathers can establish paternity in a few different ways. They can be present when their child is born and then sign a document called a Declaration of Paternity, which is also called an Acknowledgement of Paternity. Then, the father can be named on the birth certificate.
However, if your child has already been born and you were not at the birth or you didn’t complete the declaration, then you can fill out an affidavit of paternity up until your child is 18 years of age.
If a father does not want to acknowledge that the child is theirs, there are legal actions that the mother can take to try to establish paternity. They may need to contact a family lawyer and get the father to go through genetic testing.
Let’s say the mother of your alleged child is telling you you’re the father, but you just don’t believe it. Then, you absolutely have the right to challenge paternity. After all, you don’t want to get caught up in making costly child support payments and/or being responsible for someone else’s child. It’s not only financially draining, but it could take a negative emotional toll on you as well. Thankfully, if you’re in this difficult situation, you can hire a family lawyer to help you challenge paternity.
If you challenge your paternity and you’re successful, you will then have to work out child support and custody agreements. For example, if you were paying child support, you’d have to go to court to modify the order based on this new information that you’re not the father.
When you’re trying to establish paternity in your child custody case, or you need to challenge it, you can reach out to Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC for help. We’ll work hard on your paternity, child custody, and child support issues and be your source of support in your time of need. Make sure you get in touch online or by calling us at (713) 333-4430. We’re standing by and ready to help.
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