Why is the legal issue of paternity so important in North County family law courts? When a child is born to a married woman the State of California legally assumes her husband to be the father of the child. All legal child custody rights associated with the child are shared between the two during the course of their marriage.
When a child is born to an unwed mother, the father of the child has no legal rights concerning the child unless he undertakes the process of establishing legal paternity and seeks court orders regarding custody and parenting time. You may complete forms at the hospital, and your name may even be listed as the father on the birth certificate.
Legally, the unwed mother retains all rights concerning custody. She has the sole power to make all of the decisions regarding the child’s life including, but not limited to healthcare, religious practice and education. She can limit or prevent visitation or parenting time with the child and could even move out of the area or out of state. The father of the child may not have any legal standing regarding the child until paternity is established.
This is why the legal issue of paternity is so important in North County cases when a child is born to unwed parents. The medical process to establish paternity is quite simple nowadays. A swab of the father’s cheek and the baby’s cheek should provide the DNA evidence necessary to prove the man is the father of the child.
The father must then ask the Court to issue “orders” regarding child custody (the legal right to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, religious activities, etc.) and parenting time (the right to visit with the child on a regular basis).
The Court is often asked to consider issues of child support at this time as well. Protect your rights as a father, and ensure that you have legal standing regarding the decisions which will affect your child. If you would like to learn more why the legal issue of paternity is so important in North County we invite you to contact us or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.