A California child and the role of paternity to unmarried parents
For children in Orange County, California that were conceived during marriage, parental roles and responsibilities for the child are established. Even if the parents eventually divorce, the court has a clear-cut way to determine financial divorce issues, such as child support. It is a different story when a child is born to unmarried parents because the child’s legal relationship is only established with the mother. For these kinds of cases, fathers are most likely the parent who would be paying child support; so establishing paternity is an important step.
Although paternity is defined as the process to determine the legal father of a child, it is also a big factor in the lives of many children with unmarried parents. Distinguishing the legal relationship of a man to a child leads to establishing parental rights and responsibilities of a father.
Child support is the monthly payment made to a custodial parent to cover the basic living expenses, school and healthcare expenses of a child. Establishing paternity would entitle a child to receive financial support from the father. It also gives the father a legal right to visitation and parenting time.
Paternity is one way to entitle a child born outside of marriage to receive child support. The easiest way to establish paternity in California is by signing the Paternity Opportunity Program’s Declaration of Paternity form given to unmarried parents in the hospital when the child is born. Both parents must sign the document for it to be valid. A court order can also establish paternity, together with genetic testing.
By not establishing paternity, a California child’s mother may end up solely responsible shouldering all of the expenses for the child. The biological father, on the other hand, may not have the right to be involved in the child’s life without establishing paternity.
Source: Childsup.ca.gov, “Establishing Paternity (Child’s Father),” Accessed Oct. 13, 2014