In California, the legal rights of a biological father depend on his relationship to the child’s mother. When a child is born to a couple who are married or in a domestic partnership, the father is automatically considered the child’s legal father.
However, the situation becomes more complicated if the couple is unwed. While the biological mother is automatically listed on the birth certificate, the father’s legal rights depend on establishing legal paternity.
How to Establish Paternity if You Are the Biological Father
There are a few ways to establish paternity in California if you are the biological father.
The first way is to voluntarily establish paternity with the child’s mother. You can do this by signing a declaration of paternity or by filing a Notice of Acknowledgment of Paternity with the California Department of Child Support Services.
The second way to establish paternity is through the courts. This can be done by filing a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship or requesting an Order for Genetic Testing.
Finally, paternity may also be established through the California Department of Social Services if the child is receiving public assistance.
In California, the biological father of a child has certain legal responsibilities. First and foremost, he is responsible for providing financial support for his child. This support can take the form of regular payments, which the court typically sets based on the father’s income and the needs of the child. The father may also be required to provide health insurance for the child and cover other expenses such as childcare or extracurricular activities.
He is also obligated to provide a safe and stable home environment, to ensure that the child has access to adequate medical care, and to provide for the child’s education. Furthermore, the father is expected to take an active role in parenting his child, including spending time with the child on a regular basis and being involved in decision-making.
A father can also petition the court for custody and visitation rights. The father has the right to request joint or sole custody of his child. The court will consider a number of factors in making its decision, including the child’s relationship with the father, the child’s wishes, and the impact of visitation on the child’s safety and well-being. The court will decide based on what is in the child’s best interests. In some cases, this may mean that the father is granted visitation rights rather than full custody.
Know Your Rights
As a biological father in California, you have several legal rights that are important to understand. But, the legal system may be difficult to navigate on your own. If you need help establishing paternity or understanding your responsibilities and obligations, Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri can help. Contact us for a free consultation. Our team of experienced family law attorneys can review your case and answer any questions you may have. If you live in San Jose or the greater Bay Area, fill out our contact form or call us at 408-553-0801.