WHAT IS “ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF PATERNITY” (AOP) AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN
It is important to establish paternity for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which the best interests of the child, and the parents knowing who the biological father is.
First, is the Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP). This lets parents who are not married establish the child’s paternity. When the biological parents sign the AOP and file it with the Texas Vital Statistics Unit (VSU), it means that these are the legal parents of the child. The father will subsequently have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent. That includes his name being put on the birth certificate.
The AOP must be completed prior to an order for child support or paternity determination. If the father is not able to be at the hospital when the child is born, the AOP can be completed at a state attorney general’s child support office, the birth registrar’s office, or another entity that has been certified by the AOP.
Some cases cannot be settled with an AOP. If, for example, it is not fully known who the biological father is, an AOP may not be appropriate. It is possible to establish paternity by using a court order. One way to do this is by opening a child support case with the Office of the Attorney General.
Parents need to make certain that they take the necessary steps to legally establish the biological father as soon as possible.