Texas parents should be aware that it is necessary to establish both the maternity and paternity of a child before a child support arrangement can be established. The act of giving birth is enough to establish a woman as the mother of a child. However, there are multiple ways paternity can be established.
If the parents are married when the child is born, the husband is presumed to be the father of the child. In situations in which the parents are not married, the paternity of the child will have to be established by the completion of a form in which both parents acknowledge the child's paternity.
Establishing paternity is simply legally determining the parentage of a child. It does not dictate what the child's last name should be. In situations where the child has been given a last name by the mother that differs from that of the father, and the mother refuses to change the last name of the child to that of the father's, the father will be required to go to court in order have the child's last name changed.
While child support is meant for the child, the actual person who receives the child support payments may be the biological parent of the child, a guardian, an individual with whom the child resides or a legal custodian. The Child Support Enforcement Agency can establish child support orders without involving the courts. However, in situations in which going to court is unavoidable, the CSEA will provide assistance.
An attorney who practices family law may initiate the necessary legal procedures to establish a child support order. The attorney may guide clients through the process of establishing paternity, if necessary, and with obtaining the sufficient amount of support to pay for a child's everyday expenses.