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Breaking Down Parental Rights

It can be quite easy to assume that you have legal rights to your child as a parent. But do you know what exactly your parental rights are? Our San Bernardino child custody attorneys explain parental rights and how they may affect your relationship with your child.

What Are Parental Rights?

Parental rights are the rights to seek custody and visitation rights in the case of a split between parents. This split in parenting can be through divorce, protective orders, or unmarried parents. In California, the courts try to ensure that both parents will remain involved in their children’s lives unless their involvement:

  • will negatively affect the child;
  • or is against the child’s best interests.

How Are Parental Rights Established?

Parental rights are largely established through the birth or adoption of a child. If the child is born to married parents, both the mother and father have parental rights to the child and will have the right to request child custody or visitation.

However, if the child is born to unmarried parents, only the mother has parental rights until the child’s father establishes paternity. Paternity can be established through the signing of the declaration of parentage form or through a court order where a genetic test may be required. If the father wishes to pursue the establishment of paternity through the use of the voluntary declaration of parentage form, then both parents must fully complete the form and sign it voluntarily and truthfully.

If a child is adopted, then the adoptive parents have parental rights to the child after the finalization of the adoption.

What is the Link Between Parental Rights, Custody, and Visitation?

If you have parental rights, then you have the right to seek visitation or child custody. Despite having these rights, you may not automatically be granted visitation. However, you do have the ability to request visitation of your child. Without parental rights, you may be unable to seek visitation with the child unless you already have an established relationship with the child.

The court views parental rights with high importance and will try to preserve that connection between parent and child by either granting visitation or child custody. Only in extreme circumstances will the court not grant visitation to a parent, such as chronic drug abuse, alcohol abuse, endangerment of the child, if there is a protective order against the parent, or in other circumstances in which the child could be harmed.

If you have parental rights of a child but do not have visitation or child custody, contact our child custody attorneys to learn more about how you can request visitation or custody by calling (909) 315-4588.

How Do Parental Rights Interact with Child Support?

In California, both parents are considered financially responsible for their child. In the case of divorce, child support is considered during child custody hearings, as both parents must financially support the child and ensure that the child has equal financial upbringings at each parent’s home.

Child support cannot be sought unless paternity is established for the father. If paternity is not established, then the child’s sole legal parent is its mother, who is then unable to seek child support. After the paternity of both parents is established, child support can be sought to ensure that both parents are financially responsible for the child.

Child support can be sought with the help of a child support attorney, who will help guide you through the process of seeking child support. Together, your child support attorney will explain what you need to seek child support and what financial documents you may need to provide for the child support calculation.

San Bernardino Child Custody Lawyers

As a parent, you may be curious about your parental rights and how you can preserve them. Our experienced team of child custody attorneys can explain your parental rights and review your child custody or visitation agreement to ensure that they protect your rights.

Do you have a question about your parental rights? Call our parental rights lawyer at Law Office of Michael R. Young at (909) 315-4588 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation with our team.