Unwed Fathers: Three Reasons to Establish Legal Paternity

When a baby is born to a married couple, California law assumes that the mother’s husband is the baby’s father. That man gets all the benefits of legal paternity, such as the right to pursue custody if the pair divorces. But did you know that if you aren’t married to your child’s mother, you actually need to take steps to be granted legal paternity? It’s true! In today’s blog post, we’re looking at some of the biggest reasons all unwed fathers need to make sure they establish legal paternity – for their own good and for the good of their child.

1. Secure your rights to custody and decision making.

Father’s have rights and you must establish paternity to secure those rights. Once you establish legal paternity, you can exercise your right to be involved in making decisions for your child. You can make decisions regarding important things like medical care and education. Establishing paternity will also make it possible to fight for custody if you ever separate from your child’s mother. The court will make its decision based on the child’s best interest, but you’ll have a chance you wouldn’t have otherwise. Many people believe family courts favor mothers, but it isn’t always true. If you have a stronger relationship with your child, there’s a good chance you could win custody, especially if there’s any reason it might be unsafe for your child to live with his or her mother.

2. Make it possible for your child to access your benefits.

If you want your child to be included on your insurance, you’ll need to establish legal paternity. It will also make it possible for them to inherit assets from you if you pass away without an estate plan in place. It also makes it possible for them to benefit from your life insurance.

3. Grant your child access to their genetic history.

Establishing your legal paternity will make it possible for your child’s doctors to access their genetic history on your side of the family. This will make it easier for them to prevent diseases your child may be genetically inclined towards. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can actually be extremely important to your child’s health down the road.

If you want to enjoy these benefits of legal paternity, as well as the emotional benefits of acknowledging your familial bond, the team at Carroll Law Office is here to help. If you’re expecting a child, we can provide information about how to establish legal paternity at the time of birth. If your child is already born, we can help you begin the process and fill out your paperwork. Getting started is easy. Just give us a call at (707) 536-1156. We can’t wait to hear from you!