If you and your partner have a child together and decide not to get married, you will need to establish paternity. California law does not automatically assign parentage to the child’s father, rather this must be determined after the child is born.
There are many benefits to establishing parentage for unmarried parentings, including the fact that doing so protects a father’s right to be a part of his child’s life. Additionally, establishing paternity also ensures that the mother will be provided with financial support. On an emotional level, doing so also helps foster a better relationship between a child and his/her father. Today, we discuss the importance of establishing paternity and how to do so in California.
Reasons Why You Should Establish Paternity
Here are some of the main reasons why it is important to establish paternity if you are unmarried couple:
- Grants the father the right to custody and visitation
- Allows the mother and child assess to family medical records
- Builds a stronger emotional tie between the father and the child
- Gives the father the ability to travel with the child
- Provides the mother with the right to collect child support
- Allows the child to receive benefits, such as life insurance, health insurance, and inheritances
Before a mother can petition the court for a child support order, paternity must be established.
How Can You Establish Paternity?
You can establish paternity by either going to court where you will most likely take a DNA test or by signing a voluntary declaration of paternity. This form is a governmental form that, when signed by both parents, establishes them as the legal parents of the child. It must be signed voluntarily and declares that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities to care for their child.
If you are married, you will not need to figure out parentage as California immediately assumes that the husband is the father of your child, unless this is contested.
Is It Possible to Contest Paternity?
Yes, you can contest paternity within the first 2 years of a child’s life as a married couple. If you are unmarried, you will need to establish paternity, which requires a DNA test or voluntary declaration of paternity. If you have any additional questions or concerns around paternity issues, it would be advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney.
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