Paternity Attorney in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, Palm Springs, San Bernardino, Palo Alto, and San Jose
Law Firm Specializing in Paternity Actions in California
A paternity case is generally used to legally determine or confirm the biological father of a minor child when the parents were not married or registered domestic partners at the time of the child’s birth. Before child support, child custody and parenting time (visitation) orders can be obtained, usually, a child’s parentage must be established in court.
Establishing parentage means obtaining a court order or signing an official declaration of paternity that says who the legal parents of a child are. This is important because if the parents of a child were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born, the child does not have a legal father until parentage is established.
So even if a father can prove he is the biological father of a child, if he was never married to the mother, he does not legally have any rights or responsibilities for the child when there is no divorce or legal separation filed. This means parentage must be established legally to protect the parental rights of the father and to protect the right of the child to be emotionally and financially supported by both parents (i.e. child support).
What is a Paternity case?
Historically, paternity cases were treated differently by the law and the courts because there existed a stigma when a child was born ‘out of wedlock’ or without the benefit of their parents being married. Special protections deeming these cases confidential and unavailable to the public were created in order to protect the children from public scrutiny. This meant that determining whether someone had legal rights as a father to a minor child, as well as the protection of the rights of the mother and child, were often delicate situations.
Modernly, while these cases remain confidential, they are commonplace in the California court system and the parents and children involved carry no lingering stigma from the past.
While California’s parentage statutes provide methods of establishing parentage for parents who were not married at the time of their child’s birth, the courts in California may also apply the common law of de facto parentage, which provides a means for someone who has fulfilled a parental role to a child (without a biological or adoptive relationship to the child) to legally establish a parental relationship.
Our firm has extensive experience working with our clients to determine the paternity of their children. We know that fathers have rights, and in order to ensure they are able to play a role in their child’s life, paternity must be established first. Establishing paternity can be as easy as contacting a skilled paternity attorney.
Establishing Parentage in California
Establishing parentage for a child may seem like a technicality necessary only if the parents are unable to cooperatively co-parent a child, however, aside from the emotional and psychological benefit the child gets from knowing who both of his or her parents are, establishing parentage entitles the child to certain rights and privileges. In the State of California, these legal rights and privileges include:
- Health and life insurance coverage from either or both parents;
- Having the names of both parents on the child’s birth certificate;
- Legal documentation identifying both parents;
- Access to family medical records and history;
- Financial support from both parents;
- The right to inherit from either or both parents; and
- The right to receive social security and veteran’s benefits, if available.
The steps necessary to establish paternity in any given case differ based on the unique situation. Oftentimes, the alleged paternal father must be located and DNA tested in order to confirm paternity. In some situations, the parents are in agreement regarding who the legal parents of the child are and can simply sign a document to confirm paternity for the court.
Our paternity lawyers focus on outlining the rights of parents throughout California who are seeking paternity tests to ensure they are able to take advantage of their rights and maintain a positive presence in their child’s life at all times.
Whether you may be the father of a child who will need your financial support going forward, or you are committed to putting your involvement in a paternity issue to rest, our paternity lawyers will ensure your rights are protected.
Many people often assume that the courts will always judge in favor of the mother when dealing with custody, visitation, and other matters involving children in paternity actions. However, Family Code 3040 specifically bars the court from considering sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation of a parent, legal guardian, or relative in determining the best interest of a child. This Section applies to all custody cases in California, whether the parents of a child were married at the time the child was born or not.
Every case is determined based on its individual facts and circumstances. Our paternity attorneys provide a free consultation to walk clients through the process of establishing paternity, and the resulting obligations of the father once his relationship is proven. No two paternity cases are the same, which is why our paternity lawyers provide personal attention to each one. No matter how complex of a paternity case you are facing, our experienced paternity attorneys have the knowledge and skill required to assist you.
What Happens Once Paternity is Established?
Once parentage of a child is legally established in court, orders regarding child support, child custody, and parenting time (visitation) can be obtained by either parent.
Additionally, should either party commit domestic violence against the other parent or the child, a domestic violence restraining order can be sought in the paternity case under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA). Contempt proceedings can, likewise, be brought in paternity cases in the event either parent violates the child custody and visitation or child support order, as both are family court orders enforceable by contempt proceedings.
Following issuance of a paternity judgment and child custody and visitation orders, in the event either party sought to modify the child custody orders, move away with the child, or seek judicial intervention as a result of parental alienation by one of the parents, they would need to file a request for modification of the orders in the paternity action, as the court would retain jurisdiction over the issue of child custody and visitation.
Skilled California Paternity Attorneys [Father’s Rights Attorney]
No matter your reasons for wanting to determine paternity, it is our goal to provide the best outcome for our clients and their children.
Our paternity attorneys understand that not all paternity suits require rigid and substantial court appearances to establish accountability, which is why we strategize for each case separately. Oftentimes, the father is rightfully able to establish his parental rights, challenge adoptions, or gain custody of a child as a result of proven paternity.
Our paternity lawyers will work with each party to determine what is best for the child once paternity is legally established. We always represent our clients with their child’s well-being at the forefront of our minds.
Contact Our Experienced California Paternity Attorneys Now
Parents can rely on the experience of our paternity attorneys in establishing parentage of their children. Our California family law firm fights hard to make the legal system work for our clients.
Our attorneys have reached stipulated agreements, and litigated parentage cases throughout the State of California. Call the experienced family law attorneys at Talkov Law at (844) 4-TALKOV (825568) or contact us online for a free consultation about your case. Learn how our experienced paternity attorney, Colleen Sparks, can guide you through the court process in a prompt and clear manner.