This is the second post in our series on the rights of unmarried parents in Orange County, California. Our last post provided an overview of topics we will be addressing and stressed the need to contact an attorney if you find yourself in a child custody dispute. By contacting counsel you help to make sure that proper procedures are followed in your case. In this article we will address another important topic – the rights of an unmarried father. This is an area of law which causes a great deal of confusion amongst parents and can lead to disputes. If you find yourself in such a disagreement then contact our office today to speak with a lawyer.
California fathers will have no rights to a child unless paternity has been established
It is important to understand that a California father will have no rights and obligations, in regards to his child, unless paternity has been established. If paternity has not been established the biological father is not “dad” as far as the law and the Courts are concerned. This means that the father will have no rights to visitation, no input regarding the raising of the child, and will not have a right to information such as medical records, report cards, etc. It also means that the father will not have any obligations in regards to the child. The father, therefore, would not be required to pay child support, to reimburse the mother for medical bills, or to contribute in other ways. Parents need to realize that these rights and obligations are a two-way street; neither exist until paternity has been made official.
A parent can go to Court and request the establishment of paternity. In addition to ruling on parentage, the Judge will also address issues such as child custody, child support, visitation, and any other outstanding issues. The mother will be permitted to request back child support payments for up to a certain amount of time. In regards to custody and visitation, the Court’s decision will be based solely on the best interests of the child. Having an attorney can assist you in making an argument that your desired outcome is in the child’s best interest. Our Orange County child custody lawyers handle such matters. Contact our Laguna Hills office today to speak with counsel. We also service Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.
Unmarried Orange County fathers and mothers should not raise a child without having a custody order in place
It is not advisable for unmarried fathers and mothers to raise a child without a custody order in place. Many people often do so with a belief that they will be able to work with their ex to meet the child’s needs and that the situation will remain civil. While this is a noble goal the fact is that, quite often, the situation deteriorates over time. It almost goes without saying that many people are not able to get along with an ex long term and once a child is involved the level of tension is even greater. By having a child custody order in place the parties will have a framework which they must abide by. This structure provides stability and helps to eliminate arguments by preventing them in the first place. Even if the parents are getting along at the current time, obtaining an order is suggested so that a structure exists should the situation go south.
Contact our office today to learn more about the rights of Orange County fathers and mothers. We are ready to assist you.