Once the father has been determined to be the biological father of the minor child, he obtains certain rights regarding the minor child. Under most circumstances, once the father is declared the legal father of a minor child the name of the father will be entered on the child’s birth certificate. This occurs even if the mother was married to another man at the time of conception or birth. In addition, the father’s surname will be entered on the birth certificate as the child’s surname. An unmarried biological father has the right to obtain custody of the minor child and he has the same right as a married father, to have a hearing to determine his fitness as to the issue of custody.
Once the father is determined to be the biological father by a court of law he becomes a natural guardian of the minor child and under certain circumstances he may have the authority to take legal action on behalf of the minor child.
Fathers are routinely discriminated against in family court, the district attorney, and the office of child support enforcement. Parenting includes much more than writing a check once a month. The best interest of the child is served most effectively by shared parenting. It is the position of ANCPR that father’s rights is actually a subset of the broader issue of parents rights, or parental rights. Yet courts all across the nation continue to ignore the importance of fathers in family court.
In the event that the father of the minor child does not wish to contest custody of the minor child, he still has other rights in regard to the minor child. The father has the right to have visitation with the minor child. The circumstances in your particular case will determine whether you will have full visitation rights or whether the visitation will be restricted by the Court. In some cases the father needs to develop a relationship with the minor child before he is able to have unsupervised visitation. Another concern is the age of the minor child and the father’s experience in child rearing.
The father also has the right to have shared parental responsibility concerning the minor child. The mother of the child must consult and discuss with you the various issues concerning the minor child, such as religion, school, doctors, illnesses, vacations, and others. You have the right to be informed as to the activities of the minor child and you have the right to participate in those activities.
It may be helpful to discuss with an attorney the various issues in a paternity case including your questions concerning your rights as a father.
Legal counsel must be particularly sensitive to the needs and concerns of fathers in custody disputes.
Natural and adoptive parents must support their children until age 18. Stepparents are not normally required to provide support for their stepchildren. However, if a stepfather agrees to be listed as the father on a child’s birth certificate he may, under certain circumstances, have to pay support for that child. (You should contact a private attorney for help with spousal support, temporary alimony and permanent alimony.)
Child support normally consists of a monthly cash payment to the parent who has the children living with him or her most of the time. However, the non-custodial parent may also be required to pay a proportional share of the child care expenses so the custodial parent can work or get training, and a proportional share of medical costs for the children that are not paid by insurance.
A parent cannot stop or get rid of a support order by filing for bankruptcy, or by refusing to pay support. Refusing to pay may lead to jail. In addition, California courts will not enforce any agreement between parents that takes away adequate support for their children.