About Paternity Rights
In the legal context, paternity refers to the state of being someone’s father. In general, if the parents are married at the time the child is born, there is no question about the child’s parentage. The law naturally assumes that the husband is the father and the wife is the mother; therefore, where the parents are married paternity is automatically established in most cases. In contrast, when the parents are not married, then parentage of their children must be established legally.
In California, establishing parentage involves obtaining a court order or signing off on an official Declaration of Paternity that states who the child’s legal parents are. To illustrate, if the parents were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the baby was born, then her child would not have a legal father until parentage is established.
Therefore, even if the father is able to prove that he is the biological father of his child, if he was never married to the child’s mother, he has no legal rights or responsibilities for his child. In order to obtain these legal rights and responsibilities, parentage must be legally established.