If you are like most Americans, you have browsed your cable channels and stumbled across a reality show or two on which some unfortunate woman has found herself in a position of having to figure out who the father of her baby is, and she confronts all of the potential fathers on national television. Apparently there are some in the general public who find it entertaining that someone may be facing the serious issue of establishing paternity. However, for many who are facing the issue, there is often a multitude of raw emotions and legal hurdles to consider.

Not establishing paternity early on can have devastating and long term effects on all parties involved. Here are some of the benefits of establishing paternity.

Proof of paternity benefits the father…

There are countless of examples of unmarried parents in Texas who choose to live together and raise their children without proof of paternity. Men in this situation need to understand is that if the relationship with the mother should sour, fathers have no legal right to continue your relationship with your children. Establishing paternity will do the following it:

  • · Court order for visitation rights or custody
  • · The right to request school records and pick up your child from school in the case of an emergency
  • · The right to consent to emergency medical treatment for your child
  • · Legal connection to your child
  • · The father’s name on the birth certificate

And the mother…

Countless mothers have found themselves in a relationship with men who have decided they don’t want to take on any of the responsibilities of rearing a child. Rather than face a battle in family court, many women choose to raise their child without child support and without interaction with the father. Others choose to deny the father the right of even knowing about the child.

Here is how establishing paternity benefits you as the mother:

  • · Paternity must be established before you can ask the court for a child support order
  • · Establishes the father’s legal responsibility
  • · Should something happen to the father, you will be eligible to claim social security and possibly veteran’s and medical benefits on behalf of your minor child.

But especially the child

Often times the parents involved in paternity cases get so embroiled in their own emotions that they tend to forget about the impact that not establishing paternity can have on the child. One of the most important things that paternity establishes for your child is the ability to get to know and cultivate relationships with the father’s side of the family, which affords them the opportunity to learn about the full medical history. Most people don’t think about this, but not having any knowledge of either parent’s medical history can actually lead to future misdiagnoses of medical conditions, and prevent timely treatments.

Other ways that children benefit from the establishment of paternity include:

  • · The ability to be able to identify with their full family history
  • · The emotional connection between father and child
  • · The avoidance of future psychological issues and behavioral problems associated with not having an identity

Paternity can be established voluntarily, through a paternity order agreement or paternity may be ordered by a court. Whichever way you decide to pursue paternity, you should understand that the family court system can be difficult to navigate. Securing the assistance of an experienced Texas family law attorney will help to ensure that you obtain your desired result.