Absent issues of abuse or neglect, it is important that fathers in California are given the chance to bond and care for their child. However, if the child's parents are unmarried and are no longer in a relationship with one another, fathers could face challenges in obtaining the parenting time they need to develop a meaningful relationship with their child. In part, this is because in order for an unmarried father to seek parenting time, paternity must be established.
Sometimes parents will choose to establish paternity voluntarily. Other times a father must go to court to have a DNA test ordered and a decision made. Once a man is deemed to be the child's biological father, he can begin the process of seeking parenting time with his child, if it is in his child's best interests. However, in order to protect his rights, he may want to seek legal advice both in paternity or custody actions and beyond.
At our firm, we believe in advocating for fathers in paternity actions and in any subsequent parenting time actions. We understand that in most cases it is beneficial for a child to have a relationship with both parents, even if his or her parents were never married. Establishing paternity is often the first step in ensuring that fathers and children can spend the time together to establish a strong bond with one another.
Not only do fathers benefit from establishing paternity, but mothers can benefit too. This is because once paternity is established, mothers can begin collecting child support from the child's biological father. Therefore, fathers and mothers wishing to establish paternity can benefit from having an experienced family law attorney at their side through every step of the process to ensure their rights are protected.