The Law Offices of Soheila Azizi & Associates, P.C.

Tips for Unmarried Parents Raising Children Together

Tips for Unmarried Parents Raising Children Together

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 41540584With marriage comes a number of legal privileges that help married couples raise children. However, many unmarried couples don’t realize they can get some of the same legal privileges—although it takes more work. Taking advantage of these legal privileges can help you, your partner, and your children alike.

Becoming a Legal Parent

If you and your partner are the biological parents of your child, the father should ensure that his name is on the birth certificate. A child born to a married couple is assumed to be the husband’s child, but when the parents are not married, typically no father is listed on the birth certificate.

Federal law dictates that a father’s name cannot be added to his child’s birth certificate unless he signs a Declaration of Paternity. This form can be found on the California Department of Child Support Services website. The form must be signed in the presence of a witness from the hospital (if signed at the time of birth), a witness from the Department of Child Support Services, or a notary. The original form must then be sent to the Department of Child Support Services Paternity Opportunity Program.


Unmarried couples are allowed to jointly adopt a child in the state of California. However, the process can be more complicated and a home study is almost always required for successful adoption. Unmarried couples often experience longer waiting periods and are asked to be more flexible about their preferences, such as age or gender. Further, the adoption agency can discriminate against an unmarried couple in favor of placing a child with a married couple.

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 49358210In addition, California law allows someone who is not a biological parent to adopt their partner’s child. This is referred to as a “second-parent adoption.” Second-parent adoptions are most common for stepfathers and stepmothers, but it is certainly possible to obtain a second-parent adoption as an unmarried couple.

Generally, one of the following conditions must be true for a second-parent adoption to be approved:

  • Both of the child’s legal parents consent
  • The noncustodial parent is deceased
  • The noncustodial parent has been deemed “unfit”
  • The noncustodial parent has abandoned the child

It is important to note that second-parent adoptions require the consent of both biological parents—unless there are extenuating circumstances. If the noncustodial parent has continued to maintain a relationship with the child and has paid child support, he or she must give consent for the second-parent adoption.

Government Benefits

Once your name is on the child’s birth certificate as a legal parent, the child is eligible to receive government benefits. This can include government pensions, Social Security survivorship, and more. Without your name on the child’s birth certificate, paternity will have to be proven before the child can receive government benefits.

For more information about the rights and legal considerations of unmarried parents, contact the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. We are proud to be your law firm for life. We offer flexibility, open communication, and creative solutions that help you and your family determine the best possible solution. Call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to speak with one of our experienced family law attorneys today.

Customer Reviews

The Law Office Of Soheila Azizi & Associates, P.C.

Customer Reviews

Adrianne Fernandez 3/11/2021

Beyond impressed! I had been self represented through years of family law and child support court hearings and was so hesitant to hire an attorney out of fear and trusting that they would appropriately represent myself and child. After tons of research I contacted Ms. Azizi. I immediately was greeted by Lorenzo, the Office Administrator, who made me feel so welcomed and comfortable. He assisted in making communication seamless and effortless and walked me through each step of the process. Ms. Azizi heard my concerns and was extremely sensitive to the matter of FAMILY. The team did an amazing job with discovery and building a strong case that gave me confidence and I was successful in coming to an agreement with the other party, in what has yet to have been the easiest hearing of all, thanks to them. Ms. Azizi settled my case after years of stress and agony. I am grateful for finding the team and Ms. Azizi and definitely recommend them for any of your legal needs!

Linda P 6/19/2020

This law firm is the best! They have helped me so much with my Divorce and Criminal cases and I really wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have them to represent me. Lorenzo and Ro are awesome and are there to help at all times. My attorney was Mr.Edmondson and he has been amazing. This law firm is truly great and I will never go to any other one. Their responses are quick and will answer any questions you might have.

Diana H. 05/01/2021

Seven stars. I had planned to put up my reviews after my final judgment but after the first hearing, couldn't wait, and I would write this whatever the outcome of my difficult case. Soheila was simply amazing in her arguments and strategy before the judge. I felt so taken care of. I chose her for her near-30 years of experience as an attorney, the depth and strength I observed in one who had weathered hardship through her many accomplishments, her compassion, and her smarts. I can't imagine what other attorney would have Zoomed with me even in sickness to help prepare me for a legal session. And I later saw how keen she'd been in her advice. I've been deeply touched watching Soheila and her paralegal Lynda Walker fight for my child as if he were their own. They in particular have treated me with great humanity - day and night from what I experienced at my former attorney's. Lynda is a gem, on her toes, flexible, hard-working, committed to each client, humble, and sweet. She has slaved over my case, doing much of the writing, watchful of me on paper and in person, guiding me gently while encouraging me to use my voice. The staff, including the office administrator Lorenzo and Linda C, is caring, respectful, and conscientious. A band of angels.