Fathers’ Rights for Children Born out of Wedlock
Rancho Santa Fe, CA – When two parents conceive a child out of wedlock, multiple emotions are often the norm. Parents can expect anything from joy to resentment to bitterness to worry, based on the situation at hand.
And with out-of-wedlock births on the rise in the U.S., child custody and visitation cases will likely only increase as the years pass.
Compounding this potentially difficult time is the uncertainty the father must face when it comes to his rights with his child. He may fear that visitations and/or custody could be nonexistent, or that he has very few rights at all.
“Many people assume the mother always gets at least the majority of custody if she isn’t with the father,” says Leucadia child support lawyer John Griffith. “However, each case varies wildly, as many factors are taken into account.”
If it’s likely or even possible that the mother may not be willing to work out an agreement when it comes to the child, the father may want to consider establishing parentage in California. This process helps the court determine who the parents are for the child, and deals with child support, custody, and visitation orders.
The Child’s Best Interest
In California, the number one concern when it comes to family matters (where children are involved) is the child’s best interest. This means that the parent can adequately provide for the child’s health, education, safety, and general welfare. Thus, the well-being of the child is of more concern to California courts than the parent’s gender; mothers have no more right in this aspect than fathers.
Older children, especially those of at least age 14, can also give input into their preferences when it comes to custody and visitation issues. Fathers who have established consistent and lasting bonds tend to fare well when the child’s preference is considered.
Also of importance are California Family Codes 3040-2049, collectively called “Matters to Be Considered in Granting Custody.” These codes detail many of the complex variables that go into custody rulings and should be reviewed by parties involved.
Additionally, when it comes to mother vs. father custody, Code 3040 explicitly states that the court “…shall not prefer a parent as custodian because of that parent’s sex.”
Working with an experienced California family law firm will help the parent’s chances of a successful outcome in the case. The more familiar the party’s attorney is with the finer points of family law, the better.
For fathers worried about losing their right to see their child born outside of marriage, they should start a professional collaboration as soon as possible to make sure their case is handled properly.
If you’re concerned about custody or visitation rights with your child, born within or outside of marriage, schedule a free consultation with John Griffith or one of his knowledgeable colleagues at Griffith, Young, and Lass.
About us: With offices in Carlsbad and San Diego, California, we at Griffith, Young and Lass strive to serve our clients with unparalleled legal counsel in the area of family law. Our attorneys are experienced and well-equipped to achieve favorable outcomes in a variety of family matters. Together, we will work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for your case.
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