When babies are born to married couples in Texas, the husband's name is automatically placed in the father's spot on the child's birth certificate. If a child is born to an unmarried couple, though, there are some additional steps that must be taken before a dad's name can be added to the birth certificate.
If the baby's mother is willing to list you as the father, then you'll be required to sign an acknowledgment of paternity document before you can be added to the birth certificate. If she disputes your paternity, then you'll have to go through the process of establishing paternity and a court order entered in before you name can be added to the birth certificate.
Once you establish paternity, then you're eligible to request either visitation or custody and to exercise your other parental rights. You'll also be responsible for making child support payments if ordered to do so by a judge.
Visitation refers to setting up scheduling to see your child. Custody generally has to do more so with how much authority one or both parents may have in sharing in decision-making regarding the raising of a child.
Custody can either be sole or joint and physical or legal. A judge will ultimately make a decision and enter an order regarding custody in your case.
Parents who share joint custody of a child generally have a say as to the medical treatment a child receives, as well as the educational and religious experiences that they're exposed to.
Dads who confirm their paternity also are also protected from being adopted without their prior consent. In the state of Texas, babies' fathers are required to submit proof of their paternity to the Department of Vital Statistics during the first 31 days after a baby is born. Provided that they do so, the clerk of court will notify the father of any impending adoption proceedings so that they can be disputed.
It can be particularly difficult to establish paternity and get a court hearing scheduled regarding such matters when the mother is resistant to allow her child to be DNA tested or when it's hard to pin down her location. This is just one of the many situations in which you'll want a Katy attorney who is skilled at resolving paternity disputes to represent your interests.