Parental rights are the legal rights you hold to your child. For mothers, parental rights kick in at birth, but for fathers, the situation can vary.
The Attorney General of Texas explains that a father who is the spouse of the mother will have immediate rights upon the birth of a child, but fathers who are not the spouse of the mother will have to either voluntarily acknowledge paternity through a legal process or undergo DNA testing to secure paternity. Gaining rights is essential to have the ability for involvement in your child’s life.
When you have parental rights, you will be able to see your child and involve yourself in his or her life. You may have to go through the court to secure visitation or custody arrangements, but you have the right to do so.
You also have the obligation to financially provide for your child. Again, you may go through court to establish child support.
You may also have the right to make decisions or have involvement in making decisions for and about your child. For example, you have the right to determine medical care or decide the religious upbringing of the child. However, in some cases, you may not have the right to make decisions even if you have parental rights. It may depend on a court order.
Establishing parental rights will enable you to protect and care for your child. It ensures you have the ability to be in his or her life, and it provides the ability for you to develop a relationship with your child.