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A Father’s Rights in California

Under California family law, both parents of a child have the right to have a relationship with the minor. In many cases, this right can be enforced by a state laws, as these see that both parents have an equal opportunity at having a relationship with the minor. Furthermore, state laws have been set in place in order to avoid family courts and other agencies to interfere with a parent and child relationship unless it is absolutely necessary in protecting the safety and security of the minor.

If you are the father of a child, you should know that family courts in the state will work on what is in the best interests of the minor. When facing a child custody case, it is important that you know your rights.

Establishing Paternity in California

California uses the terms parentage, and paternity interchangeably and when establishing paternity, this will refer to the minor’s parents or who the government has determined is the child’s father. Under certain situations, the law will assume the identity of the minor’s father, under the following:

  1. The minor was born into a marriage and the mother’s husband will be considered the child’s father.

  2. When the minor was born under the care of an adult male and this adult has consistently demonstrated commitment to the minor, this adult will be considered the minor’s father.

When either of these circumstances do not apply, the minor’s paternity will need to be established.

The Significance of a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity

One of the easiest methods for a parent to establish paternity is by signing a document known as a voluntary declaration of paternity. In the event that an unmarried mother gives birth in a hospital or other medical setting, the medical caregivers will provide her and the male present critical information about signing the voluntary declaration of paternity form. Once the form has been signed, both consenting adults will acknowledge the parentage of the newborn and the father’s name will be added to the newborn’s birth certificate. After completion, the father will assume the rights and responsibilities of the newborn.

A second, yet more complex method to establish paternity involves going through a family court. Under California law, the following parties may petition for a paternity order:

  • The infant’s mother
  • An adult male who believes is the infant’s father
  • Any male who is believed to be the minor’s father
  • Local child support agencies providing a service on behalf of the mother
  • A child adoption agency

When the child in question is under the age of 12, he or she may not be considered in a paternity action case. If the child is over the age of 12, he or she may be considered a party in the family law case. In either situation, the court could still appoint a legal representative for the minor, who will work on what is in the best interests of the child.

How a Father’s Rights Attorney Can Help You

There are cases where a father may have reason to believe that his relationship with the child is being negatively affected in a family case matter. In these types of cases, it is crucial to seek the legal support of skilled family law attorney who can ensure the father’s rights are being upheld.

The attorneys at Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP are committed to helping parents facing difficult child disputes protect their right to a relationship with their children. If you are involved in a child custody battle, seek the legal support you deserve. Contact a proficient and dedicated law firm today.

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.