Unborn Children and Custody Rights in California

Pleasanton CA Child Custody attorneyWhen a child is born, there is a presumption that a pregnant woman’s husband is the legal father. In instances where this is not the case, things can become complicated very quickly. It becomes critical for the father to take specific steps in order to safeguard his parental rights. 

Generally, these options involve the child after it was born, but do these same legal principles apply to unborn children as well in CA? Today, we’re looking at this issue as well as discussing ways that a parent can try to secure rights for an unborn child.

Do Custody Laws in CA Account for Unborn Children?

California custody laws currently do not recognize unborn children. This means that a parent of an unborn child does not have legal parental rights at this stage, and faces an uphill battle. Furthermore, there are no laws that prevent a mother from traveling out of state before the child’s birth. This makes it especially difficult to establish state jurisdiction. 

Ways to Protect Your Parental Rights Over Your Unborn Child

Establishing parental rights once the child is born is critical. Once parentage is established, it allows for several legal benefits such as the child’s right to inheritance, medical benefits, life insurance benefits, and more. It also entitles the parent to weigh in on important decisions involving the child’s life and upbringing. 

While establishing parentage cannot be done while the child is unborn, there are a few steps you can take to help protect your parental rights before your child is born. These include:

  • Requesting genetic testing to verify parentage
  • Submitting a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity through the appropriate family court channels.
  • Filing a  Petition to Establish Parental Relationship directly with the courts

Without completing these steps ahead of time or proving parentage once the child is born, there is no legal way to enforce parental rights. This means that the mother can opt to lock the parent out if they so choose.

Talk to a Family Law Attorney in California Today

Needless to say, the stakes are high when it comes to unborn children and unproven parentage in CA. While this post covers some of the basics, be sure to reach out to a qualified family law attorney if you have any questions regarding this or other matters relating to family law in CA.

Give us a call at the Law Offices of James P. White to connect with our seasoned CA family law attorneys. You can reach us at 925-271-0999 during your earliest convenience to connect with our team and learn more about how we can help.