Even if you are not married to your child’s mother, you have rights and responsibilities as a father. However, you cannot exercise these rights unless you establish legal paternity in Texas.

Learn about the process for becoming your child’s father in the eyes of the court as well as the benefits of doing so.

Completing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form

When married parents have a child, the father automatically has legal paternity. Unmarried individuals must complete the state’s Acknowledgement of Paternity form with help from the AOP-certified entity in their region. Parents can complete this step before or after the child’s birth; hospital staff can also assist with these forms after delivery.

After both parents fill out and sign this form, the court will issue an order declaring legal paternity. Then, the couple can complete the child’s Birth Certificate Application or the Correcting a Birth Certificate Form with the legal father’s name listed.

Submitting to a DNA test

Sometimes, the mother or the potential father has doubts about the baby’s paternity. In this case, either party can request a DNA paternity test through Texas child support services.