Many adults in California don’t learn about different laws until they require support in some crucial area of their lives. For example, many people do not know much about family law statutes until they choose to get married, need to get divorced or desire to add children to their families.
Some state laws impact huge numbers of people. The California Uniform Parentage Act is a very important law that influences the circumstances of tens of thousands of families across California annually.
The law is about establishing parentage
Parentage, which many other states call paternity, is the legal relationship that an adult has to a child. For mothers, establishing parentage is relatively easy, as they will usually give birth at a medical facility. For fathers, the process can be a bit more complicated. California does apply a presumption of paternity when the father is or was married to the mother of the child.
Someone not married to their child’s mother at the time of the child’s conception or birth will need to take extra steps to have the state recognize them as a parent and to make use of their parental rights. If the parents are able to cooperate, the process can be as simple as submitting paperwork together to the state. A Declaration of Paternity can add a father to the birth certificate.
Other times, establishing parentage may require family court support and genetic testing. The individual seeking to establish parentage will initiate a case in family court in accordance with the Uniform Parentage Act. Any hearings required by the courts will be held in a closed court so that the details are not accessible to the public. Others may neither attend the hearing nor access records detailing what occurred.
Parents must know their rights to utilize them
Parents, especially unmarried fathers, often feel like they are at a disadvantage during family matters. When it comes to navigating the legal system in California, knowledge is power. Learning more about the rules that govern parentage and the process involved in establishing parentage may benefit those who want to play an active role in the lives of their children.