Answers to Questions about Family Law Parent - Child Relationships
Parent Child Relationships in Los Angeles, California can be established in a number of ways.
Family Law in Los Angeles, CA: Why does a Parent-Child Relationship have to be Legally Recognized?A recognized, legal relationship between a parent and a child automatically gives the parent a right to have care, custody, and control of their child, absent any circumstances that do not serve the child’s best interests. (California Family Code §§3010- 3011). This right, although subject to the Court’s own right to intervene, is fundamental, and exists from the time that a parent becomes legally responsible for the child up until a terminating event. (Family Code §3022). Terminating events include, but are not limited to, Court ordered termination or Court appointment of a guardian, successful emancipation, if the child reaches the age of majority, if they enter a valid marriage, or if they enter military service. (Family Code §§7002, 7505).
California Family Law presumes a parent-child relationship in most instances, and where a relationship is not presumed, the Courts provide an avenue to establish a parent-child relationship. If you are seeking custody of your child but were never married to the mother of the child, you may be required to Petitioner the Court establish a parent-child relationship to gain custody.
When Does California Law Apply a Presumption of a Parent-Child Relationship?The California Family code is old fashioned in that it presumes a parent child relationship in any situation where a child is born to a couple who are about to marry, have married, or have divorced within the past three hundred (300) days. (Family Code §7540). This presumption extends itself to situations where the presumed father consents to being named on the child’s birth certificate, where there is a voluntary written promise or Court Order specifying that the presumed father pays support for the child, or where the presumed father receives the child into their home and holds themselves out as the child’s parent. (Family Code § 7611(a)—(d)). A same-sex partner of a birth mother may establish parentage as a presumed parent under Family Code §7611(d) if there is sufficient showing that the partner received the child into her home and openly held out the child as her natural child. The same-sex partner’s obligation to support the child just as would be required of any other presumed parent.
However, when parents are unmarried, it can be slightly more difficult for a father to establish a legally recognized relationship with his child because there is no presumption of paternity outside a marital relationship. Proof that an unmarried mother gave birth to the child is enough to establish a parental relationship, but an unmarried father must establish paternity to gain custody of the child through the Courts. (Family Code § 7611(a)).