With the pop culture scene cluttered with stories about unplanned pregnancies -- from the film Knocked Up to the TV show Teen Mom -- it is always worthwhile looking at the issue of pregnancy from a legal perspective.
One of the important elements of any pregnancy is the establishment of the father. Legally establishing the identity of the father is what lawyers refer to as "paternity."
Below are five reasons why it is worthwhile to get paternity legally recognized whenever there is a pregnancy:
5. Under Texas Law, a child born to a man and woman who are not married, is considered to have no legal father. So while an unmarried man might be a child's "biological" father, that doesn't make him the "legal" father. It is not until a biological father completes an "acknowledgment of paternity" to establish legal fatherhood that he becomes the legal father.
4. A father cannot get visitation or custody rights until paternity is established.
3. Unless paternity is established, a court cannot order a father to pay child support. Obviously, this is one reason why the biological mother might have to play a big role in assuring that paternity gets established.
2. Once paternity is established, a father can then provide health insurance benefits to the child. Children can get injured or become unwell at the drop of a dime, so being covered would be very useful.
1. Children can be born with birth defects or diseases, some of which might affect them their whole life. It is impossible to get a full diagnosis unless the hospital knows the identity of both parents. A child's health is the most important thing in the world, and the more information doctors have about the child's parents, the easier treatment will be.
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