Importance to the Mother
Establishing paternity can help the child's mother by allowing her to:
- Share parental responsibilities with the father
- Share the costs of raising their child
- Share physical and legal custody with the father
- Seek child support payments from the father
- Create plans for visitation or parenting time
Importance to the Father
The following are some reasons why establishing paternity is important for the father:
- Gaining legal rights to their child
- Participating in the life and upbringing of their child
- Becoming eligible for custody or parenting time
Establishing Paternity in California
In California, paternity may be established either voluntarily or involuntarily.
The simplest way to establish paternity in California is to do so voluntarily. When a child is born into a marriage, California laws presume that the mother's husband is the father of the child. Paternity can be established voluntarily by signing the "Voluntary Declaration of Paternity" (VDP) form in the presence of a witness.
In a situation in which paternity is disputed, paternity may be established involuntarily through court action. During the proceeding, the court may order genetic testing on the alleged father, mother, and child. The court will use the result of the genetic tests to determine the child's biological father, issue a paternity order, and eventually establish paternity involuntarily.
Petition to Establish Parentage
Under California law, any of the following persons or agencies may petition the court for an order to establish parentage:
- The child's mother
- The "alleged father" or the "putative father"
- The local child support agency offering services to the mother
- An adoption agency
The court will name a representative for the child, often referred to as a "guardian ad litem." The guardian ad litem has the duty to appear in court on the child's behalf and represent the best interests of the child.
Choose an Experienced Attorney
Paternity dispute cases in California usually involve several complexities and are often fiercely contested. When trying to establish paternity, hiring a skilled paternity attorney is crucial to receive the detailed guidance and experienced representation you need.
With more than 35 years of experience, our team at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer is devoted to handling family law and paternity cases. As your legal counsel, we will review your situation and help you understand your options. Our attorneys will work diligently with both parents to negotiate a fair parenting agreement, including child support, custody, and visitation.
Also, we can help file a paternity action with the court or take additional legal action if required. Our team will fight compassionately to protect your rights, interests, and family. We can help you navigate every phase of the paternity process from start to finish, as peacefully and seamlessly as possible.