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Orange County Paternity Lawyers Helping With Child Custody Matters For Unmarried Parents

When a couple chooses to have a child out of wedlock, it is important for them to know that there are different sets of rules that can apply to their parenthood, especially for the father. It can be hard to understand and defend your rights in these cases, but with the help of a skilled family law attorney, it is possible.

At Maggio Law Orange County Divorce Attorneys, we have been representing clients throughout California with their family law needs. We have more than 50 years of combined experience in these matters, and we are fluent in the law surrounding your unique needs, especially for unmarried parents.

Child Custody In The Case Of Unmarried Parents In California

If a couple was unmarried when their child was born, only the mother is the legal parent of the child. Before the father has any kind of parental rights, they will need to establish paternity.

What Rights Do Unmarried California Fathers Have?

Because the mother is the only parent with defaulted custody of a child in California, the father does not have any rights to parenthood unless they establish paternity. If the father wishes, they can establish paternity by completing some paperwork.

How Is Paternity Established In California?

In California, there are three ways to establish paternity. If the parents of a child want a simple way to do so, they can both complete a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP) form and submit it to the state. If the alleged father, however, is unwilling to sign the document or cooperate, the legal parent can request a court order to determine parentage. Requesting a court order is also necessary if there is uncertainty about who the child’s biological father is; to determine this, genetic testing may be required.

How Long Does A Father Have To Establish Paternity In California?

Most states have limitations on the time frame in which biological fathers can establish paternity. California, however, has none. In specific instances, the state may even allow paternity to be established retroactively.

Can You Include Child Custody Matters In Your Paternity Suit?

Many biological fathers are eager to establish relationships with their children and may want to include child custody matters in their paternity suits. However, they must wait to pursue legal custody until paternity is established. Once it is, they can seek legal custody through a court order or by working out a custody arrangement with their child’s custodial parent.

Determining Child Support When The Parents Never Married

Before a father can be forced to pay child support, they need to establish paternity. Once it has been established, however, the process of establishing child support payments is largely similar to that of a married couple: either the unmarried parents can come to an agreement on their own or they can go to court for a judge to decide for them.

Get The Guidance You Need As An Unmarried Parent

Whether you are a father trying to secure and defend your rights as a parent or you are trying to hold someone accountable to their obligations as a biological parent, you need an experienced family lawyer at your side to earn the outcome you are looking for. Schedule your initial consultation at our office today by calling 949-227-3001 or emailing us here.