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 adoption, custody and visitation, inheritance, health care and other issues regarding family law.
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 of paternity.
- 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 visitation rights.
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 35 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.