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What Rights Does a Father Have in California?

Posted on August 15th, 2023

Going through a divorce or a split from a spouse can be a devastating time for parents. The divorce or split may lead to confusion and worries about how the separation will affect the relationship with one’s children, especially for dads. In California, parental rights are crucial, and dads have the same rights and responsibilities as moms.

Contrary to the popular belief that there is a bias in family courts against dads, fathers have the right to spend time and bond with their children, just like mothers do. This article seeks to remove the confusion and focus on the facts about a father’s rights in California. Keep reading to learn more.

What are Father’s Rights?

Father’s Rights

A father’s rights are the legal rights and responsibilities a father has when it comes to their child. These include the right to see and spend time with children. In California, a child’s legal parents can be grouped into three groups in dependency court. This is what is referred to as parentage or paternity.

In dependency court, persons who may be a parent are categorized into:

  • Alleged parent
  • Biological fathers and
  • Presumed parent

Parentage may be presumed if the parents are married at the time of birth of the child. It can also extend to instances where a child is born and someone is living with the family and showing a commitment to the child. In this case, the person can be considered a child’s father, even though they are not their biological parent. In other cases, one has to establish paternity through DNA testing, declaration of paternity, or court order.

Your rights and reunification services depend on the group into which you fit. It is best to consult a father’s rights attorney in LA to understand your rights.

The Rights of Fathers in California

During a custody case, you may be confused about your rights concerning your children. The following are some of the rights a father has to his children:

Right to Claim Paternity

In California, unmarried fathers have the right to claim paternity and establish legal recognition as a child’s father. You can establish paternity through a court order or by signing a voluntary declaration of paternity. Claiming and establishing paternity is not only beneficial to you as a dad but also for the child’s well-being.

If you need to establish paternity, seek legal help and guidance from a family law attorney with vast experience in California’s paternity laws.

Right to Custody and Visitation

As a father, you can seek custody and visitation rights. This includes both legal and physical custody. In legal custody, you get the authority to participate in making big decisions about your child’s education, welfare, and health, while physical custody refers to where the child lives most of the time.

Mothers and fathers are equal in California; therefore, each parent has equal rights and responsibilities when it comes to spending time with the children. If you and your spouse disagree on custody, a judge can decide for you based on the children’s best interests.

Right to Prevent Third-Party Adoption

A father with established legal paternity and parental rights has the right to prevent third-party adoption. This means that if another person, other than the child’s biological parents, seeks to adopt the child, you can take legal action to object to the move.

Contesting the adoption may involve presenting evidence in court that adoption is not in the child’s best interests. You should talk to a family law attorney to guide and represent you in court for the best chance of a successful outcome if you are facing a potential third-party adoption for your child.

Right to Provide Financial Support

In California, fathers have the legal right and obligation to provide financial support for their children, and this right is usually enforced during child support proceedings in court. A child deserves to be supported by both parents; therefore, as a father, you have the right to provide financial support to your children.

If you are a dad facing child support issues in California, it is best to speak with a family law attorney to help you understand your rights and obligations and navigate the child support process.

Talk to an Experienced Family Lawyer Today About Your Rights as a Father in California

Many people still believe that California favors mothers regarding the right to their children, and if you are one of them, you are not alone. However, this is no longer true, as California law sees mothers and fathers as equals.

With the help of a family law attorney, you can solidify your parental rights as a father, whether you currently disagree or agree with your spouse on matters of child custody, child support, or any other issue. Contact the experienced Los Angeles father’s rights attorney at the Harris Family Law Group today at 310-745-8644 for personalized guidance and representation.