Father’s rights in California

Father's rights mean the rights of a parent who is not the mother. This has expanded into new territory as laws have given more rights to same sex couples. So, while father's rights traditionally mean the rights of a male parent, that is not always the case anymore. It could also include a same sex partner who is female. The proper definition of father's rights would more likely be the rights of the parent who is not the biological mother of a child.

These rights are essential to maintain and uphold because a child deserves to have two parents in his or her life if both parents desire that relationship. Preventing father's or other parents from being involved only hurts the child in the long run.

How are rights established?

The rights of a father or parent other than a biological mother can fall into three categories, according to California Courts. The category is important to establishing visitation and child custody. The rights a parent has is based upon which category he or she falls into.

Presumed parents are those who have definitive proof that they are the parent of the child. This means being able to show their name on the birth certificate, having a former court ruling of paternity or having been involved in and acting as the child's parent for a significant time. The presumed parent has all basic rights for custody, visitation and care of a child.

Alleged parents are those who the mother has said is the other parent. A person may also state he or she is the parent in court to become an alleged parent. This category does not have many rights to a child, though, because parentage has not been determined in a significant way. An alleged parent does not have custody rights.

Biological parents are one category that only contains fathers. This means there is a proven biological connection to the child as his or her father. This is usually done through a DNA test. A biological father has rights to the child as far as visitation and custody.

How can rights be preserved?

Many times, fathers and other parents worry about losing their rights to a child when a mother wants the child to be adopted, either by giving up her rights or by having a stepparent adoption. The Superior Court of California makes it clear that a father or other parent cannot have his or her parental rights taken away without consenting to it or without a family court order.

In most cases, a parent will be alerted by the court that an adoption is pending. This allows the parent to react and object in court. However, if a parent has not had contact with a child for a year or more, action must be swift or the court could take away the rights.

Can a mother's rights be taken away by the father?

If a father or other parent wants to remove the parental rights of the biological mother, it requires a petition filed with the court to get those rights terminated. This can be a tough situation because the court will not likely remove her rights without strong evidence that this would be in the best interest of the child.

Paternity and father's rights can be a challenging thing. Biology makes it simple to know who the mother is, but it is not as easy to determine a father. If you are struggling with parental rights issues, then consider contacting an attorney, such as The Law Office of Patricia A. Hendrickson.