Establishing Parentage in the Separation of Unmarried Parents
In custody cases involving married parties, wherein a couple was married when their child was born, the court of law automatically assumes that the wife is the child’s mother and the husband his father. However, in the event that a child was born without his or her parents being legally wedded, the court of law needs to establish the parentage of the unmarried couple. A relatively recent law in California states that if the parents of a child are legally registered as domestic partners, then they will be considered as the child’s legal parents too. However, owing to the fact that the law is still rarely used and quite unsettled, it is advisable for same sex parents to obtain legal consultation from a professional attorney in order to establish their parentage over the child.
What is the legal implication of establishing parentage?
The state law of California stipulates that an unmarried couple is required to obtain a court order to establish their legal parentage over their children. The parentage can also be established by signing a legal ‘Declaration of Paternity’ which states that the couple is the legal parent of the child in question and is obligated to contribute for his care and support. To cite an example, if a child is born to the female spouse before she was married, the parentage of the father needs to be established in order to provide him the legal right to the child. This implies that even if the male spouse was the biological father of the child, he cannot exercise his rights unless he receives a court order that states his parentage as legal.
Why is it important to establish the parentage?
It is essential for an unmarried couple to get its parentage established by the court of law, in order to be eligible for requesting custody, visitation or support of the child in the event of a divorce or a legal separation. The request for the custody or visitation may be applied in conjunction with the paternity case in the court of law. However, once the parentage has been established, the individual or couple needs to adhere to both their rights as well as their responsibilities as the parent of the child.
The individual will then be eligible for requesting the custody or visitation of the child. In addition to this, he or she will also be obligated to make adequate contribution towards the support and healthcare insurance costs for the child.
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