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How Is Paternity Established in California?

Posted on in Paternity

Los Gatos paternity rights attorneyModern families come in all shapes and sizes, and establishing paternity for some children is not always as simple as it may be in the case of a married couple. When a child is born or adopted within a marriage, both spouses are assumed to be the legal parents of the child. This applies for both heterosexual and same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships. 

According to California law, in the case of an unmarried couple’s child, paternity (also known as parentage) must be established through a court order or through the voluntary signing of a Declaration of Paternity. No custody and visitation agreements or child support orders can be set up until the parentage of the child is determined legally.

Determining Parentage in Different Types of Relationships

If an unmarried heterosexual couple has a child, the mother who gives birth to the child is obviously known, but the father may need to take a paternity test in order to prove parentage. In the case of a same-sex female couple, a mother who gives birth is, again, already clear, but the other mother must provide proof that she and her former partner had intended to parent the child together. For the child of a same-sex male couple, the spouses will have to prove that they had both planned to be parents of the child. In some cases, more than two parents may be named, if it is determined that loss of any existing relationship with a particular parenting figure may be detrimental to the child.

An attorney who is experienced in establishing paternity and parentage can provide valuable guidance to ensure that you, as a parent, can get a fair amount of custody and visitation time with your child. A skilled lawyer can also make sure that the child’s financial needs are met by determining the correct amount of child support

Along With Parentage Comes Legal Responsibility

When pursuing parental rights, it is important to remember that once you have established yourself as the legal parent of the child in question, you will also be legally responsible for their care and support. Financial support will include providing basic food and housing needs, health insurance, child-care costs, etc. Failure to supply court-ordered child support is considered a crime.

Contact a Los Gatos Paternity Lawyer

Child custody, visitation, and support issues can be complicated. Attorney Benita Ventresca can help you establish parentage and determine the arrangements that protect your child’s best interests. Contact a knowledgeable Los Gatos, CA family law attorney at 408-395-8822 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-parentage.htm

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