As an unmarried father in the state of California, it’s important to understand the rights you may have related to your children. While California laws are generally progressive when it comes to parental rights, unmarried fathers may face unique challenges in establishing and protecting their rights because without taking steps to establish paternity, you may not currently be the legal father to your children. In this article, we discuss some of the parental rights unmarried fathers have in California and how to ensure their rights are protected.
One important step for unmarried fathers to establish their parental rights is to establish paternity legally. This can be done by signing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity at the time of the child’s birth or by petitioning the court to establish paternity through a DNA test. Once paternity is established, unmarried fathers can seek legal custody and visitation rights through the court system.
According to the California Courts, alleged parents are if the mother told a social worker or lawyer that you are the father or if you show up during the first paternity hearing and claim that you are the father. Alleged parents have the least amount of rights when compared to presumed and biological parents.
Only legal parents get custody and visitation in the state of California. You can establish paternity by getting a court-ordered paternity test. The results can be used to establish paternity and to seek custody.
Unmarried fathers in California have the right to seek visitation with their children. Even if you are not married to your child’s mother, you have the right to petition the court for visitation rights. The court will consider the child’s best interests when determining custody and visitation arrangements, and it is often in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents.
Physical custody refers to where the child resides and who is responsible for their day-to-day care. Unmarried fathers have the right to seek physical custody of their children and to establish a schedule for visitation if they are not the primary caregiver.
In California, the courts generally favor shared or joint custody arrangements, where both parents have significant involvement in their children’s lives. As an unmarried father, you have the right to seek equal parenting time and be involved in making important decisions about your children’s lives.
By understanding your rights and responsibilities, you can ensure that you are actively involved in your children’s lives and have a say in their upbringing. In many cases, this may mean hiring a child custody lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Bradley Bayan at (650) 364-3600 to schedule a free consultation.