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In California, what are my father’s rights?
Naturally, both parents have equal parenting rights in proper conditions, as it is in California. In today’s blog post, we’ll look at how the state establishes paternity and what rights a father has in terms of custody.
Establishing paternity is a complicated process. When it comes to paternity in California, the law assumes the identity of the child’s father in the following circumstances:
When neither of the above circumstances exist, the child’s paternity must be proved through external means. The most straightforward way to do so is to sign a “voluntary declaration of paternity” (VDP). When an unmarried woman gives birth, the medical staff at the maternity facility must present her and the alleged father with information before they sign the VDP form. When the form is signed, both parents acknowledge that they are the child’s parents, and the father’s name is legally added to the birth certificate, assuming all rights and responsibilities to that child.
Another way to establish paternity in California is through a paternity action taken to court. Under state law, any of the following entities may ask the court for a paternity order:
When a paternity action is filed in court, the judge can order genetic testing to determine the biological paternity of the male. Any failure to cooperate in the test could be viewed as evidence of paternity by the judge.
In paternity action cases, the court can mandate the following in addition to a DNA test:
You have certain rights as a father. Both parents have the right to seek custody and visiting rights under California law. These rights exist independently of the parent-child relationship. As the child’s legal father, you have the right to request equal parenting time, which can be negotiated in a visitation agreement. If you’ve been given joint legal custody of your children, both parents are equally involved in the decision-making process, which includes all key choices on the children’s health, education, safety, and welfare. In most custody cases, joint legal custody is suitable, with the exception of those involving parental disagreement, domestic violence, child abuse, substance misuse, or the location of the child.
In California, mothers do not have any special rights or benefits, and if you are dealing with a mother who is causing serious conflict, refuses to co-parent, or has alienated or conditioned the children against you, you may be able to argue that such an arrangement is not in your child’s best interests.
In the event of any harm to the child’s best interests, such as a deteriorating connection with the father, parents have the right to amend their custody agreement. Parental alienation and indoctrination of children, as well as persistent false claims, endanger the best interests of their impressionable children. Parents have the right to bring the subject up in such situations.
While courts have generally given complete custody to the child’s mother, recent decisions have seen more dads identified as custodial parents and mothers granted visitation. When a judge decides which parent gets the title of custodian, the judge looks at both the mother and the father on an equal footing, focusing on each parent’s abilities to care for and provide for the child and sustain the parent-child relationship.
One parent may be designated as “primary custodian” and the other as “non-custodian” depending on the circumstances. The child lives with the primary custodial parent, but the non-custodial parent is granted visitation in various forms, including weekend visits, unsupervised visits, and supervised visits.
Note that regardless of whether the mother or the father is designated as primary custodian, that individual has the ability to seek child support from the non-custodial parent.
Child support is intended to assist in covering the costs of a child’s upbringing, such as medical expenses, educational expenses, and living expenses such as food, clothes, and shelter.
Allow Spodek Law Group to assist you.
If you are a father who is dealing with custody or visitation concerns, you should seek legal advice. Both parents in California have the equal right to spend meaningful time with their children. Contact Spodek Law Group for legal assistance in your family matter. If you have legal issues or questions concerning your position as a father, especially if you believe your parental rights are being jeopardized.
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