Under California law, a biological father will only be recognized as the child’s legal parent if the father’s name appears on the birth certificate of the child. In the event that the father is present at the time of the child’s birth, he can sign the voluntary declaration of paternity at the time. If the father is not present at the time of birth, he will be required to file a petition in a County family law court in an effort to obtain an order for paternity and then further amend the child’s birth certificate.
The Importance of a Declaration of Paternity
When a parent has completed a Declaration for Paternity form, and the form has been successfully processed, the State of California will grant the parent vital legal rights to both the child and the father. Without the form, the child may be unable to receive inheritance from the father or other death related benefits. Further, the child may also be unable to claim life insurance from the father, should he pass away. One of the most difficult matters is that the child may be given up for adoption by the mother without proper notification to the father.
In other cases, another individual could present himself as the child’s legal father. This case could create a contest for the child’s paternity. Further, the individual who has signed the Declaration of Paternity could have higher legal standing than that of anyone contesting against him.
These are some of the most common issues regarding acknowledgement of paternity in the State of California where a declaration can prove to be beneficial. The problem with declarations of paternity, is that they can only be completed at birth. After that time, a court petition and order is needed to establish paternity. If you or someone you know is in need of a Petition To Establish a Parental Relationship or has other questions or concerns regarding the matter, seek the legal support of a qualified attorney who can assist you. An attorney with the right experience can assist you in filling out a Petition of Paternity and can also provide you with other legal alternatives.
Other Key Benefits to Establishing Paternity
As previously mentioned, there are several benefits a child or father may receive if there is an acknowledgement of paternity. The following are some of the most common benefits that may be feasible by acknowledging paternity in the State of California.
- The child may receive social security benefits in the event that the father becomes disabled;
- The child may receive veterans benefits if the father passes away;
- The child may have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit;
- The child may be able to seek other forms of legal compensation on behalf of the father;
- The father may have the legal right to sign documents on behalf of the minor;
- The father may add the child to an insurance plan; and/or
- The father may have additional legal rights during custody hearings.
The Bottom Line
There may be a number of different reasons as to why a father is unable to sign a birth certificate at the time of his child’s birth. While acknowledging paternity may be a complex process, it nonetheless presents countless benefits. If you or someone you know is interested in acknowledging the paternity of a child under the age of 18, seek the advice and legal support of a qualified attorney.