Do Unwed Fathers Have Parental Rights?

May 10, 2023
By Alternative Divorce Solutions

Rights of Unmarried Fathers in California

Parents who have children out of wedlock or choose not to marry may experience unique challenges in the event of a separation, particularly when it comes to the rights and responsibilities of fathers. Unlike fathers who are married to their child’s mother at the time of birth, unwed fathers’ paternity is not automatically assumed. This can block father’s from demanding custody arrangements, thus preventing them from remaining involved in the lives of their children after splitting up with the mother. Lack of established paternity can also bar mothers from receiving child support.

Read more about why unwed fathers must establish paternity.

How to Establish Paternity in Orange County

In short, unmarried dads do not have any parental rights unless they officially establish paternity by any of the following means:

  • Genetic testing
  • Voluntarily signing a Declaration of Paternity with the child’s mother
  • Filing a Petition to Establish a Parental Relationship (if the child’s mother will not acknowledge paternity)
  • Adding their name to the birth certificate by filing an Application to Amend a Birth Record-Acknowledgment of Paternity from the Orange County Local Registrar of Births and Deaths

Family Mediation Services in Orange County

If you are concerned about your status as a father, call Alternative Divorce Solutions today to get the help you need. We specialize in collaborative mediation designed to help couples work out their differences and come to a positive solution without engaging in costly, contentious litigation. When you call us for help resolving your paternity case in Orange County, we may be able to help you and your child’s mother arrive at a workable compromise that will foster peace, healing, and more positive family interaction in the years to come. (Click to learn more about the advantages of mediation during parental separation.)

Call Alternative Divorce Solutions today at 949-368-2121 or send us a message to schedule a consultation with one of our Orange County divorce and family mediators.


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