Paternity Actions Caring & Effective Legal Advocacy

Los Angeles Paternity Actions Lawyer

How is Paternity Determined in California?

Paternity refers to the biological relationship between a child and a father, and unlike maternity which is established at birth, it is not always easy to tell who the real father of a child is. In some situations, the paternity of a father can be challenged, and in these cases legal action may become necessary.

Paternity can affect such things as:

Paternity actions are taken to determine who the biological father of a child is. Most often, paternity is called into question for financial or custodial reasons. If you are not the biological father of a child, you may not be entitled to continue paying child support, and your custody and visitation arrangements may need to be amended. In order to determine paternity, the courts will sometimes order a paternity test to legally establish a biological relationship, or in some cases to reveal the lack thereof. Once the test results are identified, your lawyer will take whatever actions are necessary next to resolve the situation.

It is important to have representation from an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney until the matter is resolved. Contact us today!

How to Establish Paternity in California

To establish paternity in California, there are several ways to legally determine the father of a child. Here are the common methods:

  • Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP): Both parents can sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity form at the hospital when the child is born or at a later date. This form is typically available at hospitals, birthing centers, local child support agencies, and the Department of Child Support Services.
  • Court Order: If there is a dispute or if one party refuses to acknowledge paternity, the court may be involved. Either parent can file a paternity case in family court, and the court will order genetic testing if necessary. Once the court determines paternity, it will issue a court order establishing legal fatherhood.
  • Genetic Testing: If there is uncertainty about paternity, genetic testing can be ordered by the court. The testing involves obtaining DNA samples from the child, the alleged father, and, if possible, the mother. The results are used to determine the probability of paternity.
  • Marriage: If the parents are married when the child is born, California law assumes that the husband is the legal father. In such cases, no additional steps may be needed.
  • Presumption of Paternity: If a man receives the child into his home and openly holds the child out as his own, there may be a presumption of paternity under California law.
  • Acknowledgment of Paternity by Both Parents: If both parents agree on the identity of the father, they can sign a Declaration of Paternity form and submit it to the California Department of Child Support Services.

Establishing paternity has legal implications, including parental rights, responsibilities, and child support. Consulting with a family law attorney can provide guidance on the specific circumstances and legal processes involved.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity, or legally determining the father of a child, can have several important benefits for both the child and the parents. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Legal Rights and Responsibilities:Once paternity is established, the father gains legal rights to the child. This includes the right to custody, visitation, and participation in major decisions affecting the child's life. Additionally, the child gains the right to financial support, inheritance rights, and access to benefits such as health insurance or Social Security from the father.
  • Child Support: Establishing paternity is a prerequisite for obtaining child support. When paternity is legally recognized, the noncustodial parent (usually the father) can be required to provide financial support to the child.
  • Access to Medical Information: Knowing the biological father's identity provides access to the child's complete medical history. This information can be crucial for addressing potential health issues and ensuring appropriate medical care.
  • Emotional and Psychological Benefits: For the child, knowing both parents and having a sense of identity can contribute to a healthier emotional and psychological development. Establishing a connection with the father can provide emotional support, stability, and a sense of belonging.
  • Inheritance Rights: Legal paternity ensures that the child has inheritance rights from the father. This can be important in matters of estate planning and passing on assets.
  • Government Benefits: Some government benefits, such as Social Security, veterans' benefits, and health insurance, may be available to the child if the father's paternity is established.
  • Parental Involvement and Shared Responsibility: Knowing the father's identity and establishing paternity can encourage shared parental responsibility. Both parents can work together in making important decisions regarding the child's upbringing.
  • Cultural and Social Connection: Establishing paternity allows the child to have a connection with both sides of their family, fostering a sense of cultural and social identity.
  • Legal Documentation: A legal determination of paternity provides official documentation, which can be important for various legal purposes, including obtaining a passport for the child.

Call Our Los Angeles Paternity Attorneys

At Claery & Hammond, LLP our divorce attorneys provide exceptional representation to individuals involved in paternity actions. Whether you are a mother who is wishing to establish paternity for the purpose of acquiring child support, or a father who is wishing to prove your biological relationship to a child to preserve your visitation rights, a lawyer from our firm can help you. We have represented countless clients during paternity proceedings, and our firm can ensure your rights are protected while advocating on your behalf.

Contact us or fill out a free case evaluation form to learn more about paternity actions in Los Angeles.

California Family Law Document Preparation Service

Lawyers Preparing Paternity Documents

At Claery & Hammond, LLP, we make it our goal to help individuals and families in California with a number of legal issues, including those involving paternity. The term “paternity” involves the legal establishment of who is the father of a child. In situations where paternity is called into question or where paternity needs to be established for the purposes of child support, child custody, visitation, health care, or inheritance, there are many different documents and forms that will need to be filled out and filed. The attorneys at our firm can provide you with high quality document preparation service that you will need when involved in this type of situation.

A skilled California family lawyer from Claery & Hammond, LLP can help you prepare a number of different paternity documents, including the following:

  • Forms to Bring an Action to Establish Parentage
  • Forms to Use If You Were Served With a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship
  • Forms to Use If You Were Served With a Summons and Complaint or Supplemental Complaint Regarding Parental Obligations
  • Forms to Use If You Were Served With a Governmental Notice of Motion or Order to Show Cause
  • Forms to Bring a Court Action to Set Aside a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity
  • Forms to Answer an Action to Set Aside a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity

Whether you are trying to establish paternity so that you can get visitation with your children, or are trying to prove you are not the father of a child so that you don’t have to pay child support, an attorney from our California firm can help you prepare the documents that are appropriate for your situation. Without the proper legal training, it can be very hard to navigate an issue like paternity, but with support from an experienced California family lawyer, you can begin to get a grasp on this situation.

Contact a California family law attorney at Claery & Hammond, LLP today if you need help preparing paternity documents!

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