Westlake Village Paternity Attorney
How is Paternity Established in California?
Paternity legally determines a child’s biological father. While the
identity of a child’s biological mother is typically known, the
father’s identity may not always be recognized, especially if the
two are unmarried. Establishing paternity can play a pivotal role in
child support cases, as well as
custody and visitation, inheritance, health care and other issues regarding
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, paternity
can be established if both parents, married or not, sign the declaration
of paternity at the hospital during the child’s birth. If a father
hasn’t signed a paternity statement in the hospital, or used the
state’s voluntary declaration of paternity, he may prepare a paternity
statement and file it with the Department of Health or Bureau of Vital
Statistics. It’s best to get this document notarized in the event
the father passes away, in order to prove the signature wasn’t forged
after the father’s death.
Proving Paternity in California
Under California law, establishing paternity is a important for determining
the outcome of issues such as child support and visitation. As an example,
a child who is born to unwed parents may not benefit from having a legal
father until his identity has been established. Families must take the
right steps to establish this legal right, and a
Westlake Village family law attorney can help every step of the way.
Paternity can be established in the following ways:
- The father makes a formal acknowledgment by signing an official declaration
- The parents are married at the time of the child’s birth.
- Obtaining a court order to enforce
You may petition the courts to enforce a court order and request genetic
testing of the person whom is believed to be the father or has strong
conviction that he is the father. California courts require DNA testing
to be conducted by a court-approved processing center. This can provide
the solid, clear-cut evidence necessary to determine paternity. Then,
the case can progress onto other important matters, such as custody and
How is Paternity Disputed?
If an alleged father decides to dispute paternity, he may consent to a
DNA or blood testing. The process can be quite costly for both parties
if the test is ordered by a court, since California courts don’t
recognize any form of private DNA tests. Legal disputes over paternity
also usually occur when a father wants to avoid paying child support.
Get Representation from Our Experienced Legal Team
Like most family law issues, paternity concerns can have pervasive ramifications,
both financially and emotionally. With
more than 30 years of legal experience as a
divorce & family law attorney in Westlake Village, I’ve provided thousands of families with the necessary counsel
to resolve their paternity issues. I understand how important it is for
your children to get the help they need, so don’t hesitate to set
up an appointment with my firm.
For more information, feel free
contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff today for a
free case evaluation.