How to begin to establish paternity in California

After a mother gives birth to her child there usually are no qualms about establishing custody. Custody is a word that describes the ability to make legal decisions for a child and to be responsible for him or her. However, sometimes the father of the child is not clear or is not readily available to sign the birth certificate. When a parent misses that step, where do they go to establish a line of custody in a California child custody dispute?

The California Department of Child Support Services has compiled a wealth of information for people who are getting started on establishing child custody. The parents are usually not married in this situation, which accounts for many mothers and fathers today. Unmarried fathers can begin the process of legal paternity by signing the voluntary Declaration of Paternity. This process is for mothers and fathers who agree about the paternity of the child.

If this Declaration of Paternity is signed, it will give unmarried fathers access to legal paternity rights that married fathers usually automatically receive. For example, the child now has a right to financial support form both parents along with access to family medical records. It gives the child access to parents' medical benefits, which with today's healthcare situation is very important. It also gives the child a healthy emotional well-being of knowing who to call mom and dad.

Courts agree that it is usually in the child's best interest to have access to both parents. This is assuming that parents are making healthy decisions that benefit the child. Each child custody situation is different and will be decided by the court if necessary. Although sometimes unmarried parents do not agree, it is best to try to put your differences aside in order to benefit the child.