Last year, we covered some of the celebrity divorce settlements that have made headlines in California in recent years – including some of the most expensive divorces in history. To kick off 2016, we are taking a look at some recent headlines involving celebrity paternity and child custody matters.
Celebrity Paternity- The Rock Welcomes a Baby Girl
In December, Duane “The Rock” Johnson and long-time girlfriend Lauren Hashian welcomed their first child, Jasmine. Does the fact that The Rock and Ms. Hashian are unmarried have any effect on The Rock’s parental rights?
The short answer is, “no.” In California, a baby’s biology determines parental rights, and since The Rock’s parentage appears to be undisputed, he should enjoy full parental rights with regard to baby Jasmine. Although, if there were a question as to paternity, he would need to submit to a paternity test in order to confirm that he is Jasmine’s father. This is because the presumption of fatherhood that applies when a child is born to married couples does not apply when a child is born out of wedlock. Importantly, even with married parents, this is a rebuttable presumption, meaning that either parent can seek judicial intervention in order to establish that the husband is not the father.
But, what if unmarried parents are not living together or cannot agree on things like child support, custody, and visitation? If unmarried parents are not living together or cannot come to terms on how they will raise and provide financial support for their children, then they may need to go to court in order to establish custody and visitation rights and determine who owes child support. Or, if the parents are able to work together, they may be able to formulate a parenting plan without asking a judge to make decisions for them. Either way, the process is similar to that for establishing rights and obligations in a divorce, though there can be some unique aspects as well.
Importantly, none of this is to suggest that The Rock and Ms. Hashian are involved in a custody dispute. By all accounts everyone is happy and the parties appear to have a healthy family relationship. However, the issue of paternity when a child is born to unmarried parents is an important one, and The Rock and Ms. Hashian’s well-publicized addition to their family provides a good opportunity for people in similar situations to learn about their parental rights and responsibilities.
Madonna’s Custody Battle
In a less amicable situation, the Queen of Pop appears to be involved in a contentious custody dispute with her former husband, Guy Ritchie. Two days before Christmas, Madonna asked a judge to order her 15-year-old son’s return to the United States from England, where he lives with his father. The judge granted the signer’s request, and on Christmas Day she posted a photo of herself and her son, Rocco, online.
Interestingly, the judge granted the request even though Rocco has allegedly stated that he would prefer to live with his father. In addition, regardless of custody and visitation rights, parents must try to work together to foster their children’s relationships with both parents. When parents are at odds and live in different states (or, as in this case, in different countries), this can often be a challenge. If you have questions about establishing or enforcing custody, visitation, or child support in California, we invite you to contact us for a consultation.
Speak with Certified California Family Law Specialist Richard M. Renkin
San Diego attorney Richard M. Renkin is a Certified California Family Law Specialist with over two decades of experience helping parents in family law matters. To learn more about your legal rights or to get help with your custody, visitation, or child support dispute, call (888) 837-3564 or send Richard a message online today.
Photo via Flixr by Rob Sinclair