Many children are born to couples who are not married or Domestic Partners. Parties wishing to establish parentage of their children have several avenues under California law.
Q: What can I do if I am not married and want to establish myself as the parent?
A: One way of establishing parentage is by signing a voluntary declaration of paternity at the time the child is born. The signing of this document will be witnessed by the hospital staff who will forward the declaration to a state database. This has the same effect as a court Judgment for Paternity. Another way to establish a parental relationship is by filing a Petition to Establish Parental Relations with the court. The court will examine the circumstances of each case as well as possibly the results of genetic testing.
Q: If I have not seen my child or paid child support, do I still have parental rights?
A: In most cases, yes. The failure to see a child or pay child support does not alone generally affect a party’s parental rights.