When two parents are not married at the time a child is born, the father of the child may not automatically receive parental recognition or rights. In fact, the father may not enjoy many parental rights at all until he claims parentage through a declaration of paternity. Declarations of paternity are voluntary and assign parental rights to a father once completed.
A properly completed and filed declaration of paternity may grant a parent a number of advantages and legal protections, including
- Legally establishing and protecting the child's right to inherit property from the father
- Allowing the parent to add the child to his insurance plan
- Ensuring that the father's veteran's benefits may pass to the child
- Legally adding the father to the child's birth certificate
- Legally establishing the man as the child's father
Once the declaration is properly filed, both the child and the father may enjoy and enforce all of these rights.
If you believe that it is time to establish your parentage of a child, or if you have concerns about how to protect your rights as a parent, you can consult with an experienced attorney who understands the intricacies of California family law. Proper legal guidance can help you avoid many pitfalls along the way as you seek to build the best life that you can to provide for the child you love.
Parental rights are among the most important legal rights people can claim. Be sure to fully address your child's parentage as quickly and directly as you can, for your sake and for the sake of the child.
Source: Paternity Opportunity Program, "How a Declaration of Paternity can help you and your new baby," accessed Feb. 23, 2018