Experienced. Dedicated. Successful.

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:

  1. The father makes a formal acknowledgment by signing an official declaration of paternity.
  2. The parents are married at the time of the child’s birth.
  3. 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.

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 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.

Hear it From Our
Happy Clients

  • He understands family dynamics because he has experience working with many different types!

    “Jeff is very kind and always takes time to listen to my issues and questions. He is very professional. Jeff is always prepared for court and his experience is obvious when you see that all the judges know him and regard him with great esteem. Jeff understands family dynamics because he has experience working with many different types of issues which characterized my case. If you would like to be able to trust that your lawyer is going to resolve your issue to the best possible outcome while being professional and courteous, Jeff Graff is the attorney for you.”

    Paul

  • He worked efficiently to get the best and honest result for my family in child support matters.

    “I chose Mr. Graff to represent me in my divorce since he was also knowledgeable with bankruptcy law. He promptly returned phone calls, was quite helpful and consistent in advising me. He knew and understood my case and was very professional in representing me. Furthermore, I knew he was well respected in the courtroom and by other attorneys. He worked efficiently to get the best and honest result for my family in child support matters. I would absolutely hire him again and definitely recommend him to anyone in need of family law representation.”

    Kathy

  • Long story short, Jeff was able to get the monthly amount we paid cut down by more than half!!

    “Jeffrey handled my Family matter. Jeff is great!! He really helped me and my husband fight my husband’s ex. My husband got hurt at work and we were really having a tough time. My husband ex’s got a big child support order against my husband and we didn’t even know that she went to Jeffrey handled my family matter. Jeff is great!! He really helped me and my husband fight my husband’s ex-wife. My husband got hurt at work and we were really having a tough time. My husband ex-wife had a huge child support order against my husband and we didn’t even know that she went to court for that!! Then, she started coming after us for this big child support money every month. She wouldn’t even let her kids come over to visit with us and my kids, but just wanted the money and my husband wasn’t working. My co-worker went to Jeff for her divorce and she told me to call and talk to him. I am so thankful that I called him. I talked to him and he explained everything to me. I needed that because I didn’t know what to do. My husband and I met with him in his office. Jeff and the secretary were both so nice and very professional. I completely trust them! Long story short, Jeff was able to get the monthly amount my husband pays to his ex-wife cut down by more than half!! And on top of that got the judge to make my husband’s ex let the kids come and visit with my husband, who is still hurt, and my kids. Everything worked out so much better than I thought it could. I didn’t know we had a choice and that we could go to the judge to lower the support AND let us see the kids. I would recommend Jeff to anyone who need help with family law. Very Helpful.”

    Linda

  • In a very difficult time in my life, Mr. Graff provided excellent service to me.

    “In a very difficult time in my life, Mr. Graff provided excellent service to me. Patient with my process, he was always prompt to return my calls, and gave me realistic advice. While other lawyers might be evasive in an effort to prolong the process (hence their fees), Mr. Graff was straightforward and eager to conclude the proceedings quickly in an effort to minimize my pain.”

    Melissa

  • His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.

    “Jeff and his team are by far the best to work with. His staff is kind, courteous, and he is excellent at getting the job done in a timely fashion. He is very straight forward and makes it easy to understand what is going on step by step in your case. His experience and insight into the family law field is excellent. Jeff and his office have helped my family tremendously and I would recommend him to anyone who is looking for family law help. If you wants to be sure it is done correct the first time and that your family's best interest are always cared for, he is the guy. His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.”

    Catherine