Establishment of Paternity Lawyer Claremont
In California, all custody and child support cases require establishment of paternity. In some cases, paternity is presumed; in others, it must be determined through the court system.
How is Paternity Established?
There are a handful of ways to establish paternity in the state of California. One of the most common is through voluntary declaration of paternity. However, some people must submit to DNA testing, and others are simply legally considered to be a child’s father because of the actions they have taken.
When an unmarried couple has a child, they can complete a voluntary declaration of paternity. This can be done at the hospital, immediately after the child’s birth, or it can be done later on in the presence of a notary public or in one of the following offices:
- The local child support agency
- The registrar of births
- The local superior court (with the family law facilitator)
- The welfare office
If there is a dispute over parentage, the court may order a DNA test. People may also voluntarily submit to DNA testing.
In some cases, the parties involved must pay for the DNA testing. However, if the Department of Child Support Services performs the test, there most likely will not be a charge to either parent.
It’s important that you know the courts cannot accept DNA tests that were done at home or in private medical facilities unless the test was ordered by the court.
Presumed Parenting and Parentage by Estoppel
When a couple is married and has a child, the mothers spouse is presumed to be the child’s father. However, there are other cases in which a man can be presumed to be a child’s father, including:
- When he attempts to marry the mother, even if the marriage is not valid, and the child was conceived or born during that time
- When he marries a mother after the child’s birth and either agrees to have his name placed on a birth certificate or to support the child
- When he welcomes a child into his home and openly behaves as if the child is his own (this is referred to as “parentage by estoppel,” and it allows the court to determine that he is the legal father of the child—even if he is not biologically related to the child)
Common Questions About Establishment of Paternity
Many people have questions about the establishment of paternity, and that’s normal – it can be confusing and complicated.
Why Should We Establish Paternity?
Establishing paternity is important, because the courts cannot order child custody, visitation or child support without a legal father in place.
Children benefit from establishing paternity as well, because it allows children to be eligible for:
- Healthcare coverage
- Social Security benefits
- Veterans benefits
- Other government benefits
- Automatic inheritance
When Should We Establish Paternity?
It’s usually a good idea to establish paternity as soon as possible after the child is born. In some cases, a woman can begin establishment of paternity paperwork while she is still pregnant.
Can I Get Child Support Without Paternity?
You cannot get child support without establishing paternity.
What’s the Relationship Between Custody and Paternity?
The courts cannot order custody without knowing who the legal father of the child is. Once paternity is established, however, a custody case can move forward.
What if I Disagree on Parentage?
Either parent may request that the court order DNA testing to prove that a man is the child’s father or to disprove parentage claims.
Who Pays for DNA Tests?
In many cases, particularly when the Department of Child Support Services performs DNA testing, neither parent must pay for the service.
However, if the case has reached the point where the court orders DNA testing, the parties may have to pay for it. DNA testing can be expensive, so it’s important that you know what you’re getting into if you ask the court to provide such an order.
Talk to a Claremont Establishment of Paternity Lawyer Today
Whether you have questions about the paternity of a child or you simply need to establish paternity in order to move forward with a divorce, child custody or child support case, it might be a good idea to talk to a Claremont establishment of paternity lawyer as soon as possible.