Why unwed mothers should demand that fathers establish paternity

by | Nov 16, 2018 | Family Law

In the state of California, unmarried fathers aren’t automatically considered to be a child’s biological parent, even if they’re listed on their birth certificate. Instead, they must establish their paternity in order for the state to recognize them as the child’s biological parent. This must occur before any visitation, custody or support order can be made by a judge.

California only recognizes the mother as the sole legal parent if it’s born to an unmarried couple. Fathers can assert their parentage by voluntarily signing a declaration affirming that they’re the child’s biological parent. They can also have a judge sign an order to the effect.

Both unwed parents will be entitled to the same responsibilities and rights to their child once paternity is established. Each will be expected to financially support them and will be allowed to request visitation and custody once this occurs.

Unwed mothers should seek to have fathers establish their paternity soon after the child is born. This is the only way that they can ensure that he’ll make support payments. If there’s no court order in place, then there’s little state child support enforcement agencies or judges can do to force the father to pay.

Mothers who request government financial support may have their applications approved more quickly if paternity has already been established. The reason that this is the case is that when a single mom files for assistance, the state seeks reimbursement from the father to cover their costs. If paternity hasn’t yet been established, then they may require for you to do this before they’ll approve your application.

Those moms who have an enforceable child support order in place may protect themselves from an ex who attempts to file for bankruptcy to avoid their financial responsibilities. California allows a support obligation to pay placed in front of other creditors. Having a child support order in place will make it easier for your ex’s wages to be garnished if they stop paying or begin making late payments.

When a couple chooses to have a child, they often do so with the expectation that both will contribute financially to raising it. When that doesn’t occur, then it may affect a parent’s ability to provide for their child’s basic needs. A San Jose family law attorney who provides personalized representation aimed at results is who you’ll want to advocate for your interests at a time like this.

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*The above is not meant to be legal advice, and every case is different. Feel free to reach out to us at Hoover Krepelka, LLP, if you have any questions. Information contained in this content and website should not be relied on as legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice on your specific situation. 

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