Should an unmarried father in cohabitation consider a paternity case in Carlsbad? In the past 17 years the number of cohabiting, unmarried couples has almost doubled. Couples are waiting much longer to get married and more than 40% of the children born in the United States last year were born to an unmarried couple. This has become the standard for more and more couples as we move toward the completion of the second decade of the new millennium.
The question is: “Why should an unmarried father be concerned about his legal condition as it relates to his child(ren)?”
The issue at the heart of this matter is legal and physical custody, a crucial legal issue for any parent. Here in California, when a child is born to a married couple the husband is assumed (from a legal perspective) to be the father of that child and has all rights to legal and physical or residential child custody.
When the couple is unmarried (regardless of their living condition) the legal right of custody belongs to the mother, solely and until the father asserts his legal rights in a paternity action. This means the unmarried mother of any child in California has the right to move away or relocate out of the state and take the child(ren) and there is nothing an unwed father can legally do about it.
It doesn’t matter if you filled out all the papers at the hospital, or if your name is on the birth certificate. It doesn’t even matter if you’re registered and paying child support. You must legally establish your paternity of the child, and then ask the court for physical and residential custody rights.
Cohabitation and starting a family is becoming a growing defacto standard across the country and here in California. The law has yet to catch up to this change in societal standards. If you are the unmarried father of a child or children we invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and the legal industry and contact the Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.
Learn more about the status of your rights as a father to your children, and how to protect them from this moment forward.