It can be heartbreaking to know you don’t have the ability to see and spend time with your child/ren whenever you would like to. If you are an unmarried father it can be even more difficult because of the limited resources unmarried fathers have access to. A bond between a father and his child/ren is very special. No matter if the father is married, unmarried, separated, or going through a divorce it’s important for the child/ren to know how much they mean to him. Generally, judges side with women when it comes to custody situations, but fathers are just as important when it comes to taking care of the child/ren.

In the U.S. there are formalized father’s rights, even if the mother and father were never married. If you are going through a custody battle and you are an unmarried father, our family lawyers can assist you. To gain your rights to your child/ren contact a child custody lawyer today at Lopez & Wilmert, LLP. We think it’s important for a father to have the rights to see his child/ren no matter if you were married or not. Read below about more information in regards to obtaining your rights to your child/ren if you are an unmarried father.

What Does Being An Unmarried Father Mean?

When you have a child/ren out of wedlock it can be tough to obtain the rights for your child/ren. Previously, if you were an unmarried father it was very difficult to obtain rights to your child/ren, unlike if you were a divorced father or an unwed mother. It is still a difficult process, but has been made a little less complicated. Unmarried fathers were unable to have many rights at all at one point in time. However, due to these men challenging the laws that didn’t provide them many rights, unmarried fathers are now able to have more rights than before. In particular, if the mother is giving the child up for adoption the father can step in and gain the rights he deserves.

Currently, the court system has established the sentiment that fathers have a special bond with a child/ren. Due to having the child/ren’s best interests in mind, it’s best to give the unmarried fathers the rights they deserve so all parties are able to benefit from a positive relationship.

The Laws In California

In California, a father is a natural parent if he is married to the mother of his child/ren. In this case, when a man is not married to the mother of his child/ren the mother has to identify the father once the child/ren is born. This can be done by signing a paternity declaration and by coming forward to the Child Services Support Department of California within 20 days of the declaration of paternity. Each parent will have a copy of the declaration and then the unmarried father will be liable for the child/ren. Once the unmarried parents have gone through that process the genetic testing can take place, which is a paternity test that establishes who the parents are. The paternity test will also establish the father and the rights of the father. When the paternity is declared via a piece of paper the signature of each parent, the child/ren’s name, and birthdate are all required. Another way to voluntarily declare the paternity of a child is by signing a form for the Child Support Department.

Establishing your rights as a father is more complicated than you would think. If you need help obtaining your rights as an unmarried father, please contact our family lawyers at Lopez & Wilmert.