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What are your custody rights as an unmarried father?

Regardless of whether you and your partner planned to have a child, you might have found yourself in the role of an unwed father. You may have even lived together with the mother and been in a committed relationship with her. Yet, if your relationship with your child’s mother ends, you probably want to know: what are your paternal rights?

You have helped take care of your child and love them deeply. You want to continue being involved in their love and have zealously embraced being a father. Additionally, your child can benefit from having you in their life. The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse states father involvement in a child’s life helps them to perform better academically, learn more and make healthier decisions. So, how can you ensure you get to remain in your child's life?

Should you establish paternity?

One way you can maintain your relationship with your child, as well as continue to grow and nurture it is by establishing paternity. If your name is on your child’s birth certificate, that shows your parentage. Otherwise, a DNA test acts as more concrete proof of your status as biological father. 

California Courts state a biological father who has established paternity, otherwise known as parentage, has the right to reunification services, which help to establish visitation and custody rights. You have the same rights as your child’s mother after legally proving your paternity and status as a presumed parent invested in being there for your child and caring for them. Legally verifying your parentage also means you must help to financially support your child.

Unmarried fathers in California need to prove their paternity with the courts to receive visitation and custody rights. You want to stay involved in your child’s life to support, take care of and love them, and you gain the same rights as their mother once California courts recognize your status as biological father. Fighting to stay in your loved one’s life can be stressful and emotional, but speaking with a compassionate lawyer could relive some of the anxiety. 

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Law Office of Layla Summers
11755 Wilshire Boulevard
Suite 1250
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Phone: 424-276-0968
Phone: 424-276-0968
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