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Can One Parent Deny the Other Access to Their Child in California?

While divorce in California is fairly common, unfortunately, children are often used as pawns following the ending of a relationship. One fairly common scenario that leads to one parent seeking court intervention is the unreasonable denial of a kid to said parent. If the action was not reasonable, then the parent might be penalized in court for taking the kid without the other parent's consent.

What to Do if Your Partner Does Not Allow You to See Your Child

In these types of scenarios, since they tend to occur mostly with divorced couples, it is best to ask yourself if there is a custody order in place. If there is already a custody order between the couple, then there is a possibility that the parent holding the other from seeing his child is violating that order.

There are a number of resources and options you can use to enforce the court order if it is being violated. However, these only apply when there is such an order in place. If there are none, the parent who is withholding the other may not be not breaking any laws.

That said, there are several types of custody over children that do not require an order. This largely depends on other factors that are responsible for deciding who is the most suitable to have custody of the child, without the need for a custody order.

If There is No Court Order, Who Has Custody of the Child?

Generally, when there is no custody order, both parents have equal rights to the child and custody of the child. However, it is important to know that there are certain exceptions to this general rule. There are articles in the Family Code that establish that, indeed, in the absence of a court order, both parents have the same right to custody. However, this only applies to the child's legal parents.

This exception is mostly directed at parents. In the eyes of the law, mothers do not have the conditions to be able to establish their rights over their children, but for fathers this law is different.

The first thing parents must do is to establish the parental rights they have over the child. This must be done before they can make any decisions about them. This mainly applies when the father is not married to the mother at the time of the child's birth, meaning he is not automatically the legal father of the child.

Different Types of Parents

When it comes to establishing who the father is and his >rights over the child, the possibilities are classified into three different groups:

  • Biological Parents
  • Alleged Parents
  • Presumed Parents

In these cases, the presumed parents have the greatest amount of rights over the child. On the other hand, the alleged parents have the most limited amount of rights over the child of the three.

To determine if a father is the biological father of a child, it is necessary for the child to undergo a DNA test that shows that he is, in fact, the father of the child. However, it is important to mention that being the biological father does not grant any universal right to the child.

Most parents start out as "presumed parents." The only requirement that exists to be a “presumed father” is that the child's mother has voluntarily told someone (either to the court directly or to a caseworker) that he is the father of the child in question.

A father can be considered an alleged father in different ways in the eyes of the court. One of the main ones is if he appears on the child's birth certificate as the father. Another possible way for the father to be considered the alleged father is that there is evidence that he has acted and raised the child as his own, alone or with his partner.

Considerations for Being an Alleged Parent

The most common way to be considered an alleged father is through the upbringing of the child. Parents are free to establish their legal rights over a child through paternity action; in these cases, they will have the same rights over the child even if there is no court order.

There are steps to take for parents who want to protect their parental and custodial rights over a child. You can first sign a voluntary declaration of paternity and custody of the child in question. You can also file a petition to establish a parental relationship with the child in family court. He even has the right to request genetic tests to show that he is the father of the child, either through an agreement between partners or by court order.

Have You Been Denied Access to Your Child?

If you feel that your parental rights over your child are being unfairly denied, then it is important to take prompt legal action. At SAC Attorneys LLP, we have a team of family law professionals who can help you recover your relationship with your child in a legal and fair manner. To learn more, please contact us today to schedule a free, no-risk case evaluation.

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