For unmarried parties who have child, the biological father of the child has no rights or responsbilities for the child until paternity is legally established.  

Establishing parentage is essential to the welfare of a child with unmarried parents, as it will provide the child with the emotional security of knowing for certain who both of his or her parents are.  The child will also be entitled to the same rights and benefits of a child whose parents are married.   Those legal rights and benefits include the following:

  1. Financial support from both parents;
  2. A Court Order identifying both parents;
  3. The inclusion of  the names of both parents on the child's birth certificate;
  4. The right of both parents (in most instances) to be involved in decisions relating to the child's health and medical care, as well as the child's education;
  5. The ability of the child to be provided with health insurance;
  6. The right of the child to receive an inheritance from both parents;
  7. The right to of the child to receive social security and veteranís benefits, if necessary and available.

In California, establishing parentage involves the filing of a paternity action with the Court to obtain a Judgment (Uniform Parentage) which confirms who the parents of the child are.  If a person denies that he or she is the parent, the Court may  order the alleged father, mother, and child to submit to  genetic testing.

Once a person is established as the father or mother of a child, he or she will be in a position to obtain a Judgment confirming parentage.  The Judgment normally includes various other provisions relating to custody, visitation, child support,  provisions for health care coverage for the child, and a provision that each party pay for one-half of the uninsured health-care costs and child care costs for the child.  Again, in cases where unmarried parents are separated and one party retains custody of the child, a Court Order and/or a Judgment of  paternity is critical for the non-custodial parent, as otherwise, he or she will have no legal rights to see the child or make and decisions regarding the child's welfare.

Establishing parentage of a minor child is in the best interests of the child.  The Shuff Law Firm has the expertise necessary to obtain a comprehensive Judgment (Uniform Parentage) with specified custodial times awarded to each parent, along with detailed provisions for vacations, holidays and special days, custodial guidelines to prevent disputes, and orders for child support consistent with the uniform statewide mandated guidelines.  

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