Are you half of an unmarried couple with a child in Houston? Establishing paternity can be crucial for you if so. While state laws automatically assign paternity to the husband in a married couple, that is not the case for those who have decided against marriage at the time of the child's birth. This can potentially cause a lot of problems in the event of a separation.
According to FindLaw, the first and easiest way to establish paternity is by being present at the birth of your child. In doing so, you can sign a form that essentially gives you the same legal rights and responsibilities that a married couple would have. A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (or another similarly named document) can be signed even if you and your spouse never get married. If this is done at the time of the child's birth, the father's name can be included on your child's birth certificate.
There are some cases in which paternity might need to be established after the two of you aren't on good terms anymore. In these situations, a paternity lawsuit can be filed. This is typically thought of as being used by mothers who are attempting to prove the identity of a father who does not wish to pay child support. However, a father might also want to establish paternity in order to fight for child custody, especially if the other parent denying his access to the child.
Fortunately, it may not be too late to establish paternity. However, because of how high emotions can run in these situations, it can be a benefit to have the aid of an experienced attorney.