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According to the law, which father are you?

Texas dads should know being a father is one of the most honorable roles a man can have, but doing the job well is not easy. All relationships take effort from both parties, of course, and parenting is no exception. Whether or not you have married your child's mother, you have to learn how to manage life with her, how to prioritize your little one and how to be a role model for him or her. 

One of the most important aspects of taking responsibility as a dad is establishing paternity. You might wonder why legal fatherhood matters, but the Texas Attorney General describes the benefits for you, your child and your child's mom. 

For you, advantages are the opportunity to provide for your little ones and the chance to spend time with them. Your kids gain identity and family connection when that happens, an immeasurable advantage that gets them started on the road to becoming emotionally healthy adults. Their mom feels a stronger sense of security knowing her children have a father to protect and provide for them. She also finds relief from the strain of financial obligations. As you can see, then, the advantages of establishing paternity are far reaching.

If you want to make the most of these benefits and plan to take your legal place as the provider for your family, it may be helpful to understand which father you are, in the language of the law. The Attorney General outlines the options, offering four recognized terms for dads:

  • Legal father - a man who establishes paternity voluntarily or by court order
  • Alleged father - a man someone claims to be the father of a child
  • Biological father - a man who has a blood relationship to his child
  • Presumed father - the husband of the child's mother at or before the birth, or a man who lives with the mother and has taken care of the child for its first two years of life. 

Knowing these legal terms may help you as you look forward and plan for your children's future. 

Note this information does not intend to offer legal advice but simply to educate about paternity.  

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