For any number of reasons, couples may choose to have a child while forgoing marriage. And often, the father may have a strong desire to have a close relationship with the child. Such arrangements are not uncommon, but there can be questions as to how to establish legal paternity.
If a man is certain a child is his, he can contact the Texas Department of State Health Services and submit an acknowledgement of paternity form. By submitting this form, the man acknowledges that he's the child's father. He may then be given parental duties and rights.
The acknowledgment of paternity can serve a man well in nonmarital parenting situations. Without the acknowledgement, it could be more difficult to ensure visitation rights. For example, if the mother obstructs the father from seeing his child, he is more likely to have the situation resolved in his favor by the courts if he has documented evidence of an established, legal parental relationship with the child.
When a man makes the acknowledgement, he is essentially saying that the child has meaning in his life and that he wants to share in the responsibility of his or her care. And most importantly, the father and child will be able to have the relationship that both parties need and deserve.
If you are a father who wants to make sure you can have a continuing bond with a child you had outside of marriage, a Texas family law attorney may be able to offer you guidance. At the Law Offices of Keith E. Holloway, we help fathers establish and maintain relationships with their children. On our website, you can read about our services.