Most fathers are shocked to learn that if they were not married to the mother of their child when he or she was born, they have no legal rights as a parent. Paternity in this situation can only be proved through a DNA test or a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (Typically signed at the time the child is born).
Another shock to most fathers is that their ability to seek legal custody and/or visitation rights can not begin until paternity has been established. Only then may a father seek a parenting plan or visitation schedule.
Alternatively, a married man is legally presumed to be the father of a child born during that marriage. However, in a situation where there may be another father, the husband has a limited amount of time to disprove his legal status as the father of that child through DNA testing.
Both of these situations demonstrate the unique challenges to an individual faced with paternity issues. Do not try to navigate these issues on your own. The results are permanent and you need to do it right the first time.
For more information on the unique issues involved in California child custody matters, click here:
Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
Post Judgment Enforcement & Modification