Fathers Rights In California

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

Child Custody California Fathers Rights

Every family faces diverse difficult moments, even in beautiful California. When unmarried parents in California decide on a separation, they may face difficult challenges. Unlike their married couples, unwed fathers are not presumed to be the biological parents of their children, even when they are listed on the birth certificate. This prevents a mother from collecting child support from the father and a father from exercising his rights of child custody or visitation. This article discusses common situations faced by unmarried couples in California when they separate.

fathers rights in california

Establishing Parentage or Paternity

Parentage or paternity refers to the legal acknowledgment of a person as a child's biological parent. When a couple is married and have a baby, the law presumes that the husband is the biological father and the wife is the biological mother of the child. If that couple divorces, there usually is no need to establish parentage. When couples are not married no such presumption exists under the law. Parentage is only established when a person signs a voluntary declaration stating he or she is a biological parent or ,in some cases, if the court makes such determination.

When parentage is established under California family law, parents assume all rights and responsibilities involving their children. That means, a parent is entitled to seek custody or visitation as long as he or she is also financially responsible by supporting his or her child. Without a declaration, unmarried parents face the following difficulties.

The Unmarried Mother and Child Support

A common situation in California is when an unmarried mother is caring for a child without receiving any child support from the father. In some cases, a mother receives voluntary financial support by the father for sometime and the father suddenly stops paying. Whether a father was making child support payments or has never paid child support, unless there's a court order, there's no way of enforcing child support.

Mothers are entitled to apply for financial assistance from the government, but the government will in turn pursue welfare reimbursement from the father by filing a lawsuit. To get reimbursement, the government must first proof paternity. Even in non-welfare claims, the court must still make a parentage investigation before it can enforce child support and financial obligations.

fathers rights in california

A child support order provides many advantages. The parent owing support may not escape from financial responsibility any longer even if he or she decides to file for bankruptcy. Child support is given priority under the law which means if the paying parent has other creditors, child support is on top of the list of responsibilities. Also, child support can be easily enforced through wage assignment. This is when child support payments are automatically deducted from the parent’s paycheck. Finally, an enforceable child support court order is subject to penalties for late payments and nonpayment.

The Unmarried Father and Parental Rights

In many cases unmarried fathers feel cheated by the legal system when it comes to parental rights. Even when unmarried fathers are financially responsible and pay child support (and can be prosecuted for failing to do so). the government does not fight for fathers who want to be a part of their children’s lives. Without a court order, an unmarried father has no legal right to spend time with his child. The only way to enforce parental rights is to seek a court order that will enforce their rights to child custody and visitation.

Child custody court orders affect a father’s child support financial obligation because the amount is calculated using the gross income of both parents and the percentage of time that parents spend with their child.

However, a court will not consider the time a father spends with his child unless there is a court order regarding visitation. Without a child custody order, the family court will set the time-share between father and child at 0% percent which sets child support at the maximum level.

father's rights in california

Even though the law treats unmarried fathers differently, the state of California still offers protection for unmarried parents. If you need help enforcing, and preserving your parental rights, it's a very good idea to consult with an experienced California family law attorney.

Related articles:

los angeles attorney referral service

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service

1000Attorneys.com is a California Bar Certified and approved Lawyer Referral and Information Service.


Our objective is that you receive the best comprehensive, high-quality legal representation while holding California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.

Why Lawyer Referrals Matter












The California State Bar investigates in average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys every year.

We conduct due diligence by researching and recommending the best local attorney. 


We verify attorneys are in good standing and have the required experience in the type of law related to your legal issue. 


Our History 


Since 2005, we assist people who need legal representation but whose ability to locate reputable California Lawyers is frustrated by unreliable law firm marketing of self-promoting lawyers and biased legal advertising.


Members of the public have turned to the 1000Attorneys.com as a reliable legal resource for more than 15 years to locate reputable California lawyers.

How the LRS Works 

Via the 1000Attorneys.com portal, the public will find a competent California attorney. Lawyer referrals are available in English and Spanish.


Clients are referred to a local attorney who is competent to handle the case after having some fundamental knowledge about their legal issue. A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

Hundreds of articles on common legal issues, in English and Spanish, can also be obtained by the public via our blog. These pieces of information address a wide variety of common legal issues in Southern California.

A LRS representative will follow up via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain  the status of your case. 

About lawyers from our network

Lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar and have substantial experience in their area of practice.


Additionally, each LRS attorney has shown that he or she has a tracking record of ethics, professional responsibility and has met several requirements for membership.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

Additionally, attorneys are always monitored, insured and in good standing with the California State Bar. 

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online. Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes. 

2. You may also inquire about your legal issue via chat where you can get more information related to different areas of law that apply to your case.

3. By calling our lawyer referral hotline 661-310-7999. Our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advise. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommend that you use option # 1 above. 

california attorney search
employment lawyer los angeles

>Popular Articles


Who is the best lawyer in California?