Things To Know About Paternity In California

paternity in california

Establishing paternity in California is to identify the child’s biological father. It can be done by either the courts or the parents. When you establish paternity, it has various advantages for both parents and the child or children.

A child’s father is financially responsible for helping to support and is legally allowed to be a part of his child’s life. California is a progressive state, and paternity law is no exception. 

Suppose you need or want to establish paternity in California. In that case, It is essential to hire an experienced family law attorney who knows how to handle paternity cases to ensure the legal paperwork is done correctly and your rights and family are protected. This article will discuss how California paternity is established and the advantages of doing so for the child and the parents.

Establishing Paternity in California

The law for establishing paternity can depend on the circumstances. 

Establishing Paternity For Married Couples

If the parents are married at birth, the husband is the child’s presumed father unless paternity is questioned in the first two years. 

If another man, who is not the husband, fathers the child, he has the legal right to establish paternity in California and can request a paternity test. Occasionally, the court will show preferential treatment of a stable marriage over a biological father’s paternity if it is in the child’s best interest.

Establishing Paternity For Unmarried Couples

The biological father of a child has responsibilities and rights to the child regardless of his relationship with the mother. If two people live together as a family and the man exhibits commitment and responsibility towards the child, he is the presumed father. A man may request a paternity test to prove or disprove his parental status; however, if he has acted as the legal father, he still often retains rights to custody and financial responsibility.

California Paternity: Voluntary Declaration of Paternity

The easiest way is for both parties to sign a “Voluntary Declaration of Paternity” form, identifying them as the parents and the man as the biological father to establish paternity in California.

Alternative Ways To Establish Paternity In California

If paternity is in question, the best way to establish paternity in California is to take a genetic test. In California, the word “paternity” is used interchangeably with the word “parentage” or “parental relationship.” The next step is to file a parentage case and, ideally, hire an experienced paternity lawyer. 

These options for establishing paternity include the following:

  • A Prenatal test can be done before a child is born, once the mother has reached eight weeks into the pregnancy. Make sure you choose the non-invasive prenatal paternity test, which is significantly safer than other alternatives. All that is necessary is a blood sample from the mother as she is sharing blood with the baby during her pregnancy. The doctor can isolate the baby’s DNA to identify the child’s paternity.
  • A DNA test is a newer, more accurate method for determining paternity. DNA testing involves getting a blood or tissue sample and is highly precise, unlike a blood test that only determines the likelihood that a man is a father. It is common to do at least two DNA tests for confirmation. Most DNA tests will get a sample from a cheek swab.
  • A Blood test can be done after the child is born, although they aren’t as accurate as a DNA test. A blood test will identify who is likely the father.

Advantages Of Establishing Paternity In California

Some benefits of establishing paternity may be apparent. However, there are several that you may not consider, including the following:

  • Being able to access family medical history and records
  • Legally documenting both parents
  • Both parents being named on the birth certificate
  • Life and health insurance coverage from both parents
  • The right to receive veterans benefits or social security when available 
  • The right to inherit assets from both parents
  • The father may sign documents such as permission slips or release forms for the child
  • Receiving child support
  • Physical and legal custody of the child
  • Determining where and with who the child lives
  • Visitation rights, which is when the noncustodial parent will see the child
  • Establishing parental rights

Dealing With Unusual Paternity Situations

If you find yourself in a complicated paternity situation, there are some standard solutions.

  • If you have a baby with another man while married, hiring a paternity lawyer is a good idea. If the husband wants to fight for the right to keep the child and the judge determines it is in the best interest of the child, then the husband will most likely retain parental rights.
  • Sometimes, you need to determine paternity after a divorce if the husband is questioning and wants to dispute who the child’s biological father is. If the legal father isn’t the biological father, he can still be granted custody rights and be required to pay child support, even if he doesn’t want to. The court always acts in the child’s best interest, no matter who is the biological father, and sometimes, adoption of the child may be the best course of action.

In some circumstances, you can challenge paternity results. If you find yourself in this situation in Bakersfield, hire a lawyer with the expertise to help you through this challenging situation.

Hire An Experienced Family Law Attorney To Help You

Whether you are going through a divorce, dealing with a paternity case, adoption, child custody, or child support, hiring an experienced family law attorney to help you is vital.

At Azemika & Azemika, our law office in Kern County is exclusively devoted to the complex legal system of family law. Our partners have a combined total of over 56 years of experience in family law, and protecting the best interest of your children and family is our top priority.

Contact us today for a consultation, and we will work to deliver the best outcome possible for your case.