If an unmarried Texas couple has a child, it is important that paternity be established as soon as possible. This is because establishing paternity creates a legal relationship between a father and child in addition to the biological one that they already have. For the father, it means that his name can go on the birth certificate and that he may have parental rights in the event that he and the child's mother split up.
For the child, it means that both parents will support it financially. That child may also be entitled to Social Security and survival benefits. Paternity may be established through an Acknowledgment of Paternity form that both parents will fill out. An acknowledgment form can be filled out at any time before the child is born or at the time of birth.
It can also be filled out after the child is born as long as it happens before a child support or paternity determination. Alternatively, it may take a court order to determine paternity of a child. A court order may be necessary in cases where the mother isn't sure who the father may be or if a man isn't sure that he is a child's father. It may also be necessary if violence may be an issue in a particular case.
Those who wish to be named as the legal father of a child may wish to consult with an attorney. An attorney may also be able to help the mother of a child establish that a particular man is the child's father. This may make it possible for a parent to obtain child support and other rights such as legal custody of a son or daughter or visitation with that child.