Child Custody in Pleasant Hill California: Timing Matters


When we discuss child custody, it is often under the assumption that it is in the context of a typical divorce between two married people.  However, the reality is that not every child is born inside a legal marriage.  In fact, many cases of child custody in Pleasant Hill California involve unmarried parents, and can sometimes even involve fathers who were unaware of their paternity.

The reasons for this can vary, though typically the relationship ends before the mother is aware of the pregnancy and she makes the decision not to inform the father.  If you suspect you may be the father of a child outside of a marriage, it is essential that you address the issue and settle the questions of child custody and other issues sooner rather than later.

Establish Paternity

Your first step, obviously, should be to ascertain whether you are actually the biological father.  This may involve filing a petition with the court if the mother is uncooperative.  In this case, ignorance is not a defense; if you are not excited about the prospect of being a parent, simply avoiding confirmation will not spare you from possible consequences.

Consequences

In Pleasant Hill California, avoiding the issue of child custody can have several negative, unwanted consequences:

  • Having child support imposed on you with arrears – meaning you will be expected to pay for all the time your paternity was not established, which can amount to a large amount of money.
  • Inability to gain custody later if you decide you want it, as the other parent will use your earlier disinterest against you.

No matter your feelings regarding being a parent, it is always legally advisable to know the facts about the paternity of any child, so you can make plans.