Los Angeles Father's Rights Lawyer
In accordance with California law, fathers have the fundamental right to provide for the care, custody, and management of their children, but this right is not absolute. Children, however, also have the right to maintain a stable relationship with a person who has served in a fatherly role. Accordingly, whether you are the biological father of a child looking to establish your rights or have stood in the place of a child's father, contacting a qualified Los Angeles family law attorney can help you exercise your rights.
Establishing Fatherhood in California
If you are seeking to establish paternity in Los Angeles County, there are three primary ways in which you can do so:
- Sign a voluntary Declaration of Paternity
- Ask your local child support agency to establish paternity on your behalf
- Go to court and ask a judge to establish paternity
It is only necessary to take action to establish paternity if you were not married to the child's mother at the time the child was conceived. Signing a voluntary declaration, which requires the signature of the biological mother, provides you with essential parental rights including the right to a legal father-child relationship, your name on the child's birth certificate, custody and visitation rights, and the ability to provide your child with medical and social security benefits.
If, however, the child's biological mother does not agree to sign the declaration or there is a dispute as to paternity, you have to right to seek assistance from social services, which can bring a paternity action on your behalf. Further, you may bring an action for paternity to your local family court. If you are considering the latter, be sure to contact a local paternity law attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
Your Obligations once Fatherhood is Established
If you succeed in proving that you are a child's biological father or a qualifying male parental figure under California law, you are entitled to the same rights as provided to the child's mother. However, if you are not married to the child's mother, you will incur additional obligations once fatherhood is established. These obligations include paying continuing child support, reimbursing the child's mother for pregnancy and/or hospital expenses, and providing your child with certain health benefits.
Father's Rights in Divorce
There is a perception among many men that women are at an advantage when it comes to custody rights in divorce. While this may have once been the case, California law now requires courts to only consider the best interests of the child and evaluate each custody case according to that standard. It's very important to understand your parental visitation rights. Some of the factors that courts consider when determining what type of custody arrangement would be in the best interest of the child include the following:
- The child's age
- The child's health
- The emotional between the child and each parent
- The physical, emotional, and financial ability of each parent to care for the child
- Any history of substance abuse or family violence
- The child's ties to home, school, and his or her community
The Importance of a Lawyer in a Disputed Custody Case
If you are involved in a custody dispute, it is critical for you to retain qualified Los Angeles family law lawyer immediately. Judges have significant discretion when making decisions regarding child custody, and it is essential that you present your case in the best light possible to maximize your chances of obtaining the custody arrangement that you want. In addition to representing you in court, you lawyer will advise you as to steps that you can take outside of the courtroom that may improve your chances of a favorable custody decision.
Importantly, it is highly advisable to retain a family law attorney as soon as you realize that child custody may be in dispute. When you retain a lawyer, you can direct any communication regarding the matter at your attorney, which can keep from saying or doing things that could jeopardize the outcome of your custody case.
Contact a Los Angeles Father's Rights Lawyer
Children with involved and caring fathers early in life are more likely to start school at a higher academic level and tend to have greater cognitive and linguistic skills. If you are looking to exercise your rights as father, do not delay! Contact a caring and experienced Los Angeles family law attorney today. At Furman & Zavatsky LLP, we have the compassion you need to assist you in establishing your rights as a father. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 818-528-3471