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Why Establish Paternity?

Obtaining rights as a child’s legal father isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem. According to California law, the father is only given paternal rights automatically if he is married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth, or if they are domestic partners. In any other scenario, the father must establish paternity in order to receive his parental rights.

Whether you are the child’s, mother or father, establishing paternity can be a very instrumental tool used to help with a variety of family law issues. Whether you are hoping to obtain visitation rights or need court-ordered child support from your child’s father, establishing paternity could be the best course of action.

Understanding Father’s Rights in California

Establishing paternity does more than just confirms who the child’s biological father is, it establishes who is legally responsible for the child in question. Legally speaking, a father is entitled to certain rights according to state law, but he is also responsible for his fair share of responsibilities regarding the child.

Common reasons for establishing paternity include:

  • A father wishes to obtain visitation rights
  • A father wishes to obtain shared or sole custody
  • An alleged father wants to revoke a voluntary declaration of parentage
  • An alleged father who is being asked to pay child support wishes to disprove paternity
  • A mother wishes to prove paternity to obtain court-ordered child support

How To Establish Paternity

A father will only receive paternal rights automatically if he is married to the child’s mother when the child is born. In these cases, the state assumes the husband is the child’s father. However, if the parents are unmarried and they are not legal domestic partners, the child will not have a legal father until paternity is established.

In order to establish your child’s paternity, you must sign and fill out a Declaration of Paternity and deliver it to your local California court. Once all appropriate forms have been filled out and the court approves, the father may obtain his legal rights. At this point, he will also be held legally responsible for the care and well-being of his child.

If you are dealing with a family law issue regarding paternity or father’s rights, our firm can help. Contact Singleton Smith Law Offices, Inc. to discuss your case with our Murrieta divorce attorneys.