In the state of California, your rights as a parent depend on your claim to paternity. The easiest way to do so would be through a DNA test. Alleged fathers do not have custodial rights, nor do they have rights for reunification. However, they do have the right to prove that they are a presumed parent.
If you are not the child’s biological father but have been raising the child, you still have the right to continue being the child’s father. This is only true if you can prove that a parental relationship exists, and that you have been raising the child as your own. You may be considered a “de-facto parent.”
According to the State of California, “No law says exactly what a “de facto parent” needs to be. Judges make this decision based on other court cases and on rule 5.502(10) of the California Rules of Court.” Furthermore, “He or she will consider the care you gave the child and how long you did it. Also, the judge will decide if you can help the court understand what is best for the child.”
As a presumed parent – one who has been taking an active role in raising the child as your own, whether biological or not – you have the right to reunification services, custody, and visitation. Along these lines, father’s rights in California allow you to be in your child’s life. Additionally, as per custody agreements, this may extend to making decisions on behalf of your child for his/her education, upbringing, and various medical procedures. If you believe that your right to visitation, custody, or reunification is being hindered, you may pursue legal action.