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Paternity Lawyer in California

Both parents of a child have the right to build a relationship with the child unless circumstances are such that those parental rights are terminated. When there's a question about paternity, this poses a significant problem because with paternity, not only is there the right to build a relationship with the child, but obligations must be met. 

At Compass Legal Group, APC, our family law lawyer in California represents both mothers and fathers when paternity is questioned and needs to be established. We use our knowledge and resources to handle delicate paternity cases that render results as quickly and as smoothly as possible. Contact us online or at (805) 852-5141 to schedule a Free 30-minute Consultation.

Establishing and Contesting Paternity in California?

You might assume that the ability to determine paternity by a simple cheek swab has simplified the paternity process and eliminated most cases where paternity is contested. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and paternity establishment can still be complicated. 

Uncontested Establishment of Paternity

When a child is born to two people that are married to one another, the parties are considered to be the child's legal parents. Most jurisdictions also maintain that paternity is established when the father acknowledges it in writing, the father resides with the mother and openly claims the child as his own, and when the father is obligated to support the child either by court order or a voluntary agreement. 

Contested Establishment of Paternity

How paternity is established when contested depends upon the particular circumstances of the situation and the laws of your jurisdiction. For example, is the child born out of wedlock? Is there already an order in place that establishes paternity? These are all issues that must be considered when paternity is contested. 

Title IV-D Agencies

Title IV Section D of the Social Security Act is commonly known as the Child Support Enforcement Program. All states are required to have a program that adheres to the terms of this act, which handles not only the establishment and enforcement of child support but also the establishment of paternity (in some cases). This is a resource available to parties that want to establish paternity. 

Putative Father Registry

If a man believes he may have fathered a child, many states have a putative father registry where he can indicate his intention to claim paternity. This will give the father certain rights, such as notification of any court proceedings involving the child, actions to terminate parental rights, and petitions for adoption. 

Paternity and Deceased Fathers

In most states, paternity is considered established when the father was married to the mother before his death, and the child was born prior to, or within a certain time frame after, his death. When the mother and father were not married prior to his death, it may be possible to establish paternity through DNA testing of close family members. 

Effect of Paternity Determination in California

After a court has established paternity, it is no simple matter to have that decision reversed in most jurisdictions. It is a matter that will need to be heard by a judge. However, establishing paternity is important for many reasons. Without it, the father has no legal rights to the child, such as a right to custody, visitation, or decision-making about the child's upbringing. 

Further, with paternity established, the mother can exercise relevant legal rights, like:

  • Petition for child support, where the state requires the legal establishment of paternity and also ensures that fathers share the burden of supporting their children
  • Apply for state support, where programs require the establishment of paternity before mothers can apply for benefits like food, housing, and healthcare.
  • Obtain insurance, where the insurer requires legal paternity to list a child on a policy.

What's more, with paternity established, the child benefits by building relationships with both parents.

Why Should I Hire a Paternity Attorney in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara Counties?

Paternity can be difficult to establish under certain circumstances, such as when the mother is married to someone else or another person's name is on the birth certificate. In these situations, the court will need to become involved, and a paternity attorney will know the steps to take to ensure paternity is established properly.

Contact a Paternity Lawyer in California Today

Establish paternity today. Whether you are the alleged father or the mother, making sure paternity is established offers many benefits as much as it provides clarity. Contact our office today either by using our online form or by calling us directly at (805) 852-5141

Contact Us Today

Compass Legal Group is committed to you. We understand the stress you're shouldering, and strive to make the process as simple and affordable as possible. We offer free consultations to discuss your case, at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.