Fathers are in a unique position in that they have to prove their relationship to a child. If you are married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, the law does give you an exception and automatically assigns your parental rights as the father. However, if you are not in a marriage, then you do not secure rights automatically, according to Texas Access.
Establishing paternity is essential because it gives you legal rights to your child. It also creates a legal obligation to support and care for your child. Without legal rights, the mother has complete say over the child and what happens with him or her. It becomes essential to establish your rights so that you can have involvement in your child’s life.
If you and the mother are on good terms or in a relationship when the baby is born, then you can voluntarily sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity. You and the mother both must sign this form saying that you are the father of the baby. Many hospitals offer this form and will file it along with the other legal documents you must file when a baby is born.
If you and the mother are not on good terms, she refuses to admit you are the father or you are unsure if you are the father, then you can take the matter to court. The court will usually have you take a genetic test to determine if you are the father. If you are, the court will then issue a ruling that gives you your parental rights.