California Fathers’ Rights When the Father is Unknown

A recent article published by Fox News.com raises an interesting question: if a mother won’t name her baby’s father, where does that leave the dad and his custody rights?

The peg for this discussion of California paternity and fathers’ rights is actress January Jones, best known for her role on Mad Men. According to Fox, Jones recently announced that she is expecting her first child. “Unlike most celebrities, however, she refused to name the baby’s father, and said through her rep that she intends to be a single mother,” Fox reports.

Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Jones did not conceive using a sperm bank, where does that leave her baby’s biological father? The article notes that here in California a man who believes himself to be a biological father but who is not named in the child’s birth certificate “has a limited time to come forward” and demand a paternity test – two years, in most states. The article notes that something along these lines happened to Padma Lakshmi, host of the TV show Top Chef. Her attempt to be an unencumbered single mother unraveled last year when the baby’s father demanded a paternity test and asserted his parental rights after the test came back positive.

If, on the other hand, a single mother refuses to disclose the father’s identity and no man steps forward to assert paternity then the child can and will remain legally fatherless.

Of course, asserting California paternity, here in Orange County or elsewhere, has consequences. Parenthood is a serious financial and emotional responsibility. It also, however, includes certain rights which a mother should not be able to deny to a dad simply because she wants to go it alone. An Orange County paternity and fathers’ rights attorney can help dads who believe they are being cut out of their children’s lives gain the custody and visitation rights they deserve.

Fox News.com: January Jones Latest Leading Lady Not Naming Baby Daddy