When a child is born to married parents, the law rarely questions who the child’s father is. However, if a couple is unmarried when they have a child, the state does not recognize the father. In this situation, the state recognizes the parental rights of the birth mother only. The way you can solve this problem in California is by establishing paternity through the court system or by completing the appropriate paperwork. Paternity holds numerous advantages for both parents and the child.
How is Paternity Established?
There are many ways to establish paternity. If you want an easy and affordable paternity process, it’s important to hire a paternity lawyer to assist you. Paternity can be established by declaring the father on the child’s birth certificate. Most states allow fathers to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. If unwed parents do not place a paternal name on the birth certificate, they have the option of preparing a paternal statement. Otherwise, unmarried couples may prepare an informal document that includes basic information about both parents and the child’s birth. This informal document is signed in the presence of a notary and filed with the nearest family court.
Petition to Establish Paternity
If for some reason the mother is unwilling to indicate the father, he may petition with the courts. Once the petition is filed, the mother receives a court order requiring a response. If she continues to deny the father, DNA testing and other means may be taken in order to prove paternity. In most cases, it is advisable to file a petition with the court as soon as the baby is born.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
There are several benefits associated with paternity establishment:
- It enables the father’s name to be placed on the birth certificate.
- The child has access to medical records and documented history of both sides of his/her family.
- If legitimized, the father is able to share equal custody and visitation rights with the mother.
The child is eligible to qualify for financial benefits from the father such as child support and social security programs.
If you need help with paternity issues, please contact our Altamonte Springs family lawyer at the Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz, L.L.C. to discuss your case.Call (407) 753-4111 or contact us online for a free consultation today.