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.