Mothers immediately have parental rights over their children when they give birth to them, but other parents do not in many cases.
If you did not marry the mother prior to the child’s birth or meet other requirements to receive immediate paternity, then you will need to establish it to get any rights to your child. This is the biggest reason to do it, but there are a few other important aspects of ensuring you have legal paternity.
Support of the child
Another important reason for establishing paternity, according to the California Courts, is to support the child. Support can come in many forms, such as financial and emotional. When you have legal parental rights, you can ensure you are part of that child’s life and help raise the child even if you and the mother are not in a relationship.
Paternity also gives you the ability to make a legal claim on the child. He or she also can make a legal claim on you, which is helpful should you pass away. It helps the child to get benefits, such as Social Security, or to have a claim to your estate. It is helpful in many other legal situations as well when you need to prove you have a relationship with the child.
You should note this applies to same-sex partners as well, who should establish parentage rights. This is essential for same-sex partners who have no biological connection to the child because a legal connection gives you solid parenting rights and protections.
Establishing paternity protects everyone. You should make sure you understand if you have it automatically upon birth or if you need to take steps to establish it.