Having a child without the benefits of marriage can be somewhat stressful if the couple is not getting along.
Parental rights can be somewhat challenging for an unmarried couple – especially the father. However, if you are the father, you have legal rights. The legal help from a Family Law attorney is essential to establish your parental rights.
When a child is born to a married couple the father is automatically presumed to be the father. This is not the case for a couple that is not married – paternity must be established in order for the father to be granted custody and/or visitation rights.
California law states that paternity must be established before the father receives rights and responsibilities involving his child. You will have to arrange to have a DNA test done.
As an unmarried father, you have the right to visitation with your child. You and the mother can either determine those rights on your own or a court can do so for you. Generally, you will not be given primary custody unless the mother is proven to be unfit. However, if both parents are playing an active and stable role in the child’s life, joint custody is an option.
When determining custody arrangements, the court looks at several factors, including each parent’s ability to provide for the child, their established lifestyles. The court believes that the child needs the love and attention of both parents.
If you believe you are the father of a child born out of wedlock, you should contact an experienced family lawyer. Contact the Rancho Cucamonga Family Law offices of Inland Empire Divorce & Family Law Attorneys to find out how to make a claim to your child and assert your rights as a parent.