The essence of California’s parentage or paternity laws
Many California couples are open to the topic of cohabitation before marriage. Some of them put off marriage and prefer to live with their significant other so that they can prioritize their career first. This is one of the reasons why many children are born to unmarried parents, resulting in more paternity cases. Basically, when a child is born out of wedlock, the mother’s relationship with the child is the only one established, while the father’s relationship with the child can only be legally recognized after establishing paternity or parentage.
In California, establishing parentage means obtaining a Declaration of Paternity or court order that identifies the child’s legal parents. Unmarried fathers do not have any legal rights to their child unless he marries the child’s mother. Otherwise, the father cannot claim rights and do not have responsibilities or obligation to the child.
Establishing parentage is important to both the child and the parents. For starters, parents who establish parentage are entitled to custody and visitation. Parentage is also necessary for all of these family law issues — child custody, child support and visitation. Once parentage or paternity is recognized, the unmarried father is responsible for making child support payments. Doing so also entitles the child to healthcare coverage from the parent’s health care plan.
For a child, the establishing paternity or parentage can benefit them both emotionally and financially. Once parentage is established, legal documentation identifies both parents as the child’s legal parents. Both parents’ name would be on the child’s birth certificate. This gives them access to their family medical history and records. A child can also receive financial support from the parents and the right to inherit from either of them. Establishing parentage makes a child eligible to receive Social Security and veteran’s benefits. More importantly, a child would have the emotional advantage of knowing both parents.
Source: Courts.ca.gov, “Parentage/Paternity,” Accessed on Jan. 8, 2015