When a child is born to a couple who is unmarried, they may already know beyond a shadow of a doubt who the father is. Many unmarried couples are very committed to one another, they are living together, and they may even have intentionally been trying to have a child together. The couple may be as happy about the child’s birth and as excited about their future as any married couple in Texas.
However, in the eyes of the law, their situation is not the same. Married couples do not have to worry about establishing paternity and legally defining who the father is. It is just assumed due to the marriage, as long as the parents do not raise any concerns.
Unmarried couples, though, do not get the benefit of this assumption. The medical professionals will not put the father’s name on the birth certificate until a paternity test has been taken and it’s been officially noted that the man is the child’s father.
This test can also give the father legal rights and obligations. For example, he could gain the right to medical information or to see the child in the hospital. He could also gain the responsibility of child support. The paternity test creates between the father and the child a legally-binding, official relationship.
Additionally, if the mother and father do break up in the future, this paternity test makes sure that the father still has a right to be in his child’s life.
Make sure that you understand exactly what is and is not assumed under Texas law and why a paternity test may be necessary.
Source: The Attorney General of Texas, “Paternity Establishment,” accessed Oct. 29, 2015