When a child is born to unmarried parents in California who are no longer in a relationship, it may be necessary to establish paternity of the child. Doing so formally and legally establishes who the child's biological parents are. This allows the child's custodial parent seek child support, and it also allows the child's non-custodial parent to pursue visitation rights if he or she so chooses.
There are many good reasons to establish paternity of a child. The child benefits emotionally from simply knowing who his or her mother and father are. It also gives the child the same rights that children of married parents have.
For example, establishing paternity makes it possible for the child to be supported financially by each of his or her parents. Once paternity is established, each parent's name can appear on the child's birth certificate. The child will also have access to important information about his or her family health history. Establishing paternity also gives a child inheritance rights, and the right to be included on either parent's health insurance policy or life insurance policy. Finally, establishing paternity allows the child to obtain veteran's benefits or Social Security benefits if appropriate.
In the end, once a court establishes paternity, it can order the non-custodial parent to pay child support. Also, once a court establishes paternity, the non-custodial parent can seek visitation with the child. The child's name can be changed to reflect the paternity establishment if the parties want. It is an important step for unmarried parents to take. Unmarried parents in California who have questions about paternity can seek the advice of a family law attorney.