California operates under presumed parentage, which means that the court assumes that two married parents are the biological parents to any child born during their marriage. When parents are unmarried, they have to take extra steps to establish the legal rights afforded to the biological parents of a child.
In some cases, this can be a complicated and contentious process, particularly if paternity is disputed. Establishing paternity can help provide support and care for a child, but it can also become a stressful court case. An attorney can help you through the process of establishing the parental rights of a child.
At All American Law, our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience working in family law. We have helped many families establish paternity for their children, and we use this experience to help you with your case. Every family and paternity case is unique, and we take the time to tailor our experience to meet your needs. Establishing paternity may allow you to expand your family, retain child support payments needed to care for your child, or provide you with visitation and custody rights. We want to help you meet your goals, and our firm has worked for years with local judges and state agencies. Our working relationships help us expedite paternity tests and help your case go more quickly. All American Law uses our resources to make your case less stressful and ensure that it’s done correctly.
Under California law, both parents are equally responsible for the material care of their children. When a child has only one legal and biological parent who bears this responsibility, it’s often more difficult for them to get the proper care they need. Establishing paternity ensures that both parents are held responsible for their child, whether they are raising a child together, co-parenting, or one parent has full custody and the other is providing financial support.
Establishing paternity also provides the parent who did not give birth to the child with parental rights. This includes the right to:
Paternity has to be established for both parents to retain these rights and determine a parenting plan. Establishing paternity may also be done to dispute claims by a third party.
Usually, unmarried parents can establish their child’s paternity in two ways:
Regardless of how paternity is established, both parents will have legal rights as parents of the child, along with all the financial and support rights and responsibilities involved.
When you work with an attorney, you have significant resources and legal support on your side. Your paternity case will have its own challenges, and you need a legal professional who can adapt to those challenges and help you effectively resolve your case. You can navigate a paternity case more easily with an attorney and be fully informed throughout the process.
California does not have a statute of limitations for a parent to establish paternity. If a child has only one legal biological parent, the other parent can be established as a legal parent until the child turns 18. If a child has two presumed legal parents, there is a limited amount of time to challenge that paternity if another party believes that they are the true biological parent. Any court-ordered paternity action must be completed within 2 years of the child’s birth.
If parents are unmarried, there are two main ways that parents can establish legal and biological paternity for their child:
A birth certificate does not directly establish paternity. Paternity must be established through a voluntary declaration of paternity form or through a court order. Often, both parents’ names are put on the birth certificate after the legal and biological parental rights are established. However, this is a result of legally establishing paternity.
Establishing paternity provides a parent with legal rights and responsibilities for their child. This includes the right to child custody, visitation, and to provide or receive child support. Additionally, it provides children with access to medical records from both sides of their family. Establishing paternity ensures that children can inherit from their parents. It also often provides children with more stability and confidence in their sense of self and their family.
Contact All American Law when you need experienced attorneys to find a strategy for your paternity case that works in your family’s interests.