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4 reasons fathers should establish paternity in California

When a man and woman are married in California and have a child, the law assumes that the man is the child’s father. However, in situations in which the couple is not wed, the law states that paternity must be established if either party wishes to secure certain legal rights.

The California Courts notes that there are two legal ways to determine fatherhood: the parents can sign a voluntary form, or one or both parties can secure a court order that will trigger genetic testing. There are a number of reasons that a father would want to take these steps, and those include the following:

1. To gain legal rights

Without established paternity the alleged father of a child does not have any rights to custody or visitation. Once the man’s relationship to the child has been determined, he may be able to make a case for visiting with the child or even gaining custody of the child. He also earns the right to be consulted in the event that the mother wishes to give the child up for adoption.

2. To have a relationship

Piggybacking on the custody and visitation point is that a father should have a relationship with a child. Experts agree that children who have positive relationships with both parents tend to fare better in life.

3. To secure child support

The California Family Code clearly states that both parents are mutually financially responsible for the cost of raising a child. Many people may think of a man having to make payments to a woman, but the truth is that many mothers make child support payments to fathers. It all depends on the economic circumstances of both parties, who holds custody of the child and several other factors. It may be possible that the father could receive payments, or he could financially make a contribution to the child’s wellbeing.

4. To give a child access to benefits

Lastly, every parent should want what is best for a child. When paternity has been established, it grants a child rights to a number of benefits, which may include health insurance, Social Security and certain veterans’ benefits. The child may stand to inherit assets from the father. Also, the child now has access to his or her family’s medical history, which can be important when assessing certain health conditions.

Genetic testing for paternity if fairly non-invasive, usually involving a simple cotton swab on the inside cheek of the parents and the child. Anyone reviewing this topic should connect with a family law attorney in California.

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