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What is the Reason to Legally Establish Paternityf

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2019 | Paternity

What is the reason to legally establish paternity in North County San Diego?  Doesn’t marriage or completing the forms at the hospital and getting my name on the birth certificate legally establish me as the baby’s father?

California law presumes if a child is born to a married couple, they are legally established as the baby’s parents.  If the husband in this case is not actually the biological father and the biological father wishes to have visitation and/or custody rights regarding the child the biological father must establish legal paternity through the court.  There is a time limit of two years from the date of the child’s birth to request this test.

There is an exception to this statute of limitation.  If the husband in this scenario is unaware he is not the biological father and he discovers reason to suspect the child is not his own down the road, the two year clock starts upon the date the husband discovered this new information.

Yes, signing the Declaration of Paternity in the hospital and ensuring your name is on the birth certificate should provide the same rights as a married father.  It is important to know that establishing paternity also establishes your financial responsibility to support the child.

So what is the reason to legally establish paternity if you are not married to the mother and you have not signed a declaration of paternity and been listed on the birth certificate?  The mother of the child may wish to establish paternity in order to gain support for the child.  In other cases, the mother may wish to withhold the child from the baby’s father, even though the father wishes to participate in the child’s life.

If you are not listed on the birth certificate and you have not signed a declaration of paternity at the hospital, the mother has all of the rights to make custody decisions for the child under California law.  This means she is free to take the baby and leave the area or the country.  It also means she has the legal right to deny your request to see or visit with the child.

The reason to legally establish paternity in these cases is to protect your rights as a father to participate in the life of the child as well as important decisions on issues such as education, healthcare, and religion.

Paternity can be a complex issue in California.  If you have any questions regarding paternity or the reason to legally establish paternity in California we invite you to contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment to learn more.