Many residents of the Corte Madera and other parts of the Bay Area are unmarried at the time they have children. What this means for them is that, if they want the father of the child to have legal rights over and legal responsibilities for their child, parents will have to establish paternity in some way.

The most certain means of doing so is for the couple to go to a California court and navigate through the legal process of submitting to DNA testing and getting an order declaring the biological father also legally responsible for the child and entitled to have a relationship with the child. In other words, the court will require child support and may also establish a parenting plan.

However, in the right circumstances, couples may benefit from what some might rightly call a legal shortcut in this process. Specifically, unmarried mothers and any purported father can sign a Declaration of Paternity form. While the form will not in of itself set up a specific child support amount or parenting plan, it will make the man who properly signs it the legal father of the child listed.

This process makes it easier for unmarried couples who want to get custody or support orders for their common children, especially if they are also in agreement on issues like child support or parenting time.

However, men in particular need to be certain that they are indeed the fathers of the children that are listed on the Declaration. Although there is a 60-day period in which they can withdraw the Declaration and opt to go to court to establish paternity instead, after that time, they could easily be legally bound to support and care for a child that is not theirs biologically.