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San Marcos Texas Legal Blog

Why it is important to establish paternity if you and your partner aren’t married

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2022 | Family Law |

You and your partner have never gotten married, but you’ve been together for a long time. You’ve lived together and you even have a child together. For all intents and purposes, you are living as a couple, even though you are still two single individuals in the eyes of the law.

In a situation like this, it may feel like you can just assume that you are the child’s parent and go about your business. Maybe you are 100% sure that you are the parent. It can still be wise to officially establish paternity if the two of you aren’t married. Why is this?

The law may not assume you are the parent

You may believe that you are the child’s parent, but the law makes no such presumptions. This is only done in cases in which the couple is married when the child is born. In a case like that, both of your names will be listed on the birth certificate – unless there is some sort of dispute about paternity in advance. But most couples who are married and have a child together are confident that they are both the biological parents.

But you’ll need to officially establish that paternity so that you can define your parental rights. For instance, if your partner left you and took the child and you wanted to seek custody time, it would not be granted without a paternity test. Courts will only provide custody rights to official parents, and you do not check that box, even if you know that it’s true. A simple paternity test may put you in a much better position so that you still get to see your child.

Paternity can also be important for child support. Maybe you want to know what you need to pay or you believe that you’re owed money from the other parent. Either way, the court is going to need to know 100% that you are the parent before they’re going to make a ruling on this.

Paternity tests are quick and easy

The good news is that paternity tests usually don’t take long and they are very accurate. It’s an easy way to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are the parent. After that, if you’re facing a complicated situation with your ex, then you need to know about all the legal steps you can take to protect the rights that you’ve just established that you do have.