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Parental Rights Attorney in Los Angeles

Helping Clients Establish & Contest Parental Rights

Parental rights refer to a parent’s legal ability to make decisions and take action on behalf of their child or children. These rights are usually considered automatic for biological parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, and legal guardians.

In situations where the parents may be going through a divorce, or when someone who has been present in a child’s life may not be a biological parent, parental rights may come into question.

Understanding Parental Rights

“Parental rights” is a term which relates to a number of parenting-related issues, including:

  • Disputing parentage
  • Establishing parentage
  • Requests for genetic (DNA) testing
  • Same-sex couple second-parent adoption
  • Situations where parentage is presumed (i.e. the parents were married)

Why Establishing Legal Parentage Is Important

Establishing that you are a legal parent of a child ensures that your child has access to many legal rights and benefits.

These rights and benefits may include:

It also ensures that your children can benefit from other rights, including health insurance, social security, and inheritance rights.

How Paternity Is Established for Unwed Parents in California

The best way for a father’s paternity to be established is for him to be named on the child’s birth certificate. All unwed parents must be offered the opportunity to establish paternity by having the father voluntarily sign a declaration of paternity.

If the father is not present at the hospital after the birth, the mother will not be able to list him as the father on the child’s birth certificate. In these situations, parents can sign the voluntary declaration of paternity at a later date in order to establish paternity.

If the parents break up before the declaration is signed, a mother may need to bring legal action in order to confirm paternity if the ex-partner refuses to sign the voluntary declaration.

Parental Rights for Non-Biological Parents

A person that is not related to a child may be able to assume full legal and physical custody of a child. This may be the result of an adoption or it may happen when one spouse marries someone who is not the child’s biological parent.

In these situations, non-biological parents typically have the same rights as biological parents as long as they are legally recognized as being that child’s parent. A non-biological parent may even be able to obtain more parental rights than the biological parent if a biological parent is not able to fulfill his or her parental duties (this may be due to incarceration or incapacity).

Parental Rights after a Parent Has Transferred Custody

The transferring of parental custody to another parent does not necessarily mean that the rights of the transferring parent are completely terminated. He or she may be able to retain some of their rights, particularly if physical custody is being split between both parents.

These rights are known as “residual parental rights” and may include:

  • The right to visit the child
  • The right to consent to a child’s adoption
  • The right to conclude on a child’s religious participation

Child Custody & Parental Rights

California family courts will often allow divorced parents to try and come to a child custody agreement on their own outside of court. If the parents are not able to come to an agreement, the court will get involved and come up with a child custody plan based on a variety of factors.

The factors that are to be considered may include:

  • If either parent has a history of domestic violence
  • The child’s age, physical health, and mental health
  • If there is a history of frequent alcohol or illegal drug use
  • The amount of contact and the child’s relationship with both parents
  • If either parent has recently been convicted of illegal activity or substance use
  • The interests of the parents are taken into account. But family courts will always hold the best interests of the child or children as their first priority.

How Lavinsky Law Can Help

Understanding your parental rights is critical to ensuring the health and well-being of your children. This often means enlisting the help of a qualified Los Angeles parental rights attorney, such as those at Lavinsky Law.

Lavinsky Law is conveniently located in West Los Angeles and has been helping families in Los Angeles County live happier and more peaceful lives since 2013.

If you have questions about your parental rights or would like to discuss your situation, we invite you to contact Lavinsky Law today at (310) 929-6411 and schedule your free consultation with our attorney.

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