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Establishing paternity gives fathers both rights and obligations

When trying to establish paternity in Texas, it's important to consider the way that a defined paternal link is going to change the father's relationship with the child. It will bring about new rights and opportunities, but it also brings along new obligations.

First off, if a man is determined to be a child's father, he then has the right to seek custody of the child or to ask for visitation rights. There are situations in which this can be denied -- such as when abuse is involved -- but the man generally has the ability to be involved in the child's life.

On top of that, the man may also ask for a parental agreement that allows him to make some decisions for the child. Common decisions parents need to make include deciding where the child will go to school, what religion he or she may be brought up in, and where and when medical treatment will be sought.

It is important to remember the obligations as well. A man may need to pay child support after it's established that he's the father. The amount paid depends on income levels, custody agreements, and more.

If the man refuses to go along with a court order telling him to pay, either by paying a smaller amount or not paying at all, legal steps can be taken to force him to pay. These could include garnishing his wages so that what is owed is taken from his paycheck before he ever gets it.

Paternity is very important, changing the relationship between parent and child. Be sure you know all of the legal changes that come along with it in Texas. If there are issues with visitation rights, child support payments, or anything else, you need to know what you can do.

Source: FindLaw, "Paternity Suit FAQs," accessed Aug. 26, 2016

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