Texas fathers may be more likely to acknowledge paternity if the mother is well-educated and affluent according to a study that looked at 5,427,689 births to unmarried women between 2009 and 2013. The study found that paternity was claimed at the hospital for nearly 70 percent of children of unmarried mothers. This means that each year roughly 750,000 children do not have a legal father named when they leave the hospital although it may be claimed at a later date.
If a mother is married, her husband will be placed on the birth certificate as the father. However, if the parents are not married, the father can sign an acknowledgement of paternity in order to be legally considered the father of the child. This will give the father parental rights, and it will also make him legally responsible for paying child support.
The study also found a correlation between fathers acknowledging paternity in the hospital and the good health of the mother. Furthermore, healthier mothers tended to carry their children to term and to have healthier children. The children tended to have a higher birth weigh, and there was also a correlation between a mother’s likelihood of breast feeding and the acknowledgement of paternity.
For a father who wants visitation or custody rights to his child or a mother who is seeking child support, establishing paternity may be the first step. How complex this process may be depends on the willingness of the father to acknowledge paternity. Once paternity is established, the mother might need to go through the local child support enforcement agency in order to get child support from the father. There are a number of ways that these payments may be enforced. However, if the father has legally acknowledged paternity and been granted visitation rights but is not paying child support, he still has a right to see the child.