In years past, many children in California were born to parents who were married. However, in recent decades, that is not always the case. Children are often born to unmarried couples. This could present some legal complications. In these cases, paternity is not automatically established.
When a child is born to a married couple, the law presumes that the husband is the child's father. This presumption can be challenged, of course. However, it is a legal base point for children to collect child support should the couple divorce.
When a child is born to an unmarried couple, paternity must be established. Paternity is the process of determining who the child's legal father is. While it is clear who a child's mother is, it can be more difficult to establish paternity. For unmarried couples, this is not automatic and additional steps need to be taken when the child is born.
This is important for a number of reasons. Without establishing paternity, a father may not have the right to custody over the child. Additionally, without establishing paternity, a child may not have the right to collect child-support from the child's father. Other benefits of establishing paternity include gaining access to medical records, access to medical benefits and having the right to know their father.
According to the California Department of Child Support Services, there are many ways to establish paternity. When a child is born, paternity can be voluntarily established if a man signs a declaration of paternity. This can be done at the hospital or shortly after the child's birth.
It is important for residents in California to understand their paternity rights. Without establishing paternity, a child support case cannot move forward for unmarried couples. While this post can only provide general information about the relationship between paternity and child support, an attorney can help to provide more specific details about California family law.