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Los Gatos, CA paternity dispute lawyerAlthough the paternity of a child is sometimes pretty cut and dry, there are some circumstances in which one parent or the other wishes to dispute parentage. The process is easier to start if parentage has not yet been legally established. However, if parentage has already been determined by a court order, you may not be able to fight it. In these cases, it is crucial to work with a skilled family law attorney who can protect the rights of all parties involved.

If Parentage Has Not Been Legally Determined

If a child is born to married parents or adopted by a married couple, the parentage is legally presumed. This also extends to couples who are domestic partners. In biological paternity cases, either party may request a DNA test, which will prove whether a man is the child’s biological father. To do so, you will have to fill out the proper forms for the court. An experienced family law attorney can help walk you through the process. If a paternity test shows that the child in question is yours, you may then pursue a custody agreement, or you may be required to pay child support.

In same-sex and/or adoptive cases, a paternity test may not solve the issue of parentage. A parent may be able to demonstrate that they are the child’s biological parent, but if the other party wants to prove legal parentage, or if the couple adopted the child, then these are situations in which both parents may need to sign a voluntary Declaration of Paternity. If all are in agreement on the declaration, then the custody agreement can be worked out after that.

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CA family lawyerIn the past, families typically consisted of a married mother and father with one or more children. However, many of today’s families are much more complicated. Parents may be unmarried, or they may have divorced and remarried, with multiple children from different relationships. In addition, children may be born to or adopted by parents in same-sex relationships. Due to the complex nature of modern families, establishing legal paternity/parentage for children is more important than ever. However, a child’s putative parent may not be the actual parent, and in these cases, they should understand their options for disputing paternity.

Methods for Disputing Parentage

A parent who wishes to dispute a child’s paternity must follow different procedures depending on whether and how paternity was previously established. In many cases, parents will voluntarily sign a Declaration of Paternity form when the child is born. If the parentage of the child comes into question after signing this form, either parent may file a Declaration of Paternity Rescission form within 60 days after the Declaration of Paternity form was signed. The other parent will be served with a copy of the petition, and a court hearing will be held. Genetic testing may be ordered to determine the child’s biological parentage.

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