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Steps for a Father to Obtain Parental Rights

In certain situations, a man is presumed to be the father of a child and he is not required to do anything specific to assert his parental rights. For example, if a man is married to a child’s mother when the child is either conceived or born, or if the man tried to marry the mother at the time of conception or birth (even if the marriage was invalid), the man is presumed to be the father. If a man marries a woman after birth and he is on the birth certificate or agrees to support the child, he is presumed to be the father under these circumstances as well. Finally, if a man welcomes a child into his home and openly acts as if the child is his son or daughter, rules of parentage by estoppel will mandate the court consider the man the legal father even if the man isn’t the biological father. father's parental rights

Outside of these situations, there are more steps for a father to obtain parental rights that must be taken. In order for a man to have a legal claim to a child- which can entitle him to visitation or to stop an adoption from proceeding- the man must ensure that he is officially recognized as the father. It is important for a man to do this as soon as he believes a woman may have given birth to his child, so men who wish to assert their parental rights should reach out to an Irvine family lawyer as soon as possible. Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide invaluable assistance to men who wish to establish their rights as parents so give us a call as soon as you believe there is a child that belongs to you.

Steps for a Father to Obtain Parental Rights

A man who is presumed to be a father of a child has parental rights, and can be entitled to petition for custody in the event of a separation or a divorce. A man who does not fit within the categories of men presumed to be fathers will need to formally establish parentage either by signing a voluntary declaration of paternity or by getting a court order.

A voluntary Declaration of Paternity can be obtained from local Child Support Agencies, registrars of birth, family law facilitators at local superior courts, and welfare offices. The Declaration must actually be signed at one of the locations where the forms are available, or must be signed in front of a notary. It must be filed with the California Department of Child Support Services Paternity Operation Program after it has been signed by both parents. The form must be voluntarily signed and once it has been filed, it will have the same effect as a court order.

If the mother and father are not both willing to sign the form, the father seeking to obtain parental rights will need to petition the court for a court order. If parentage is in dispute, a DNA test may be ordered to determine if a man is the child’s father.

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance with all steps for a father to obtain parental rights. Give our Irvine family lawyers a call today to get the process underway.