Establishing paternity in California

By |2022-04-04T18:53:18+00:0007 Apr 2017|Categories: Family Law|


In California, if a couple is married and has a child, the two people are presumed to be the parents of that child. However, if a child is born to an unmarried woman, the legal system must establish who the father is.

Registered domestic partners are presumed to be the parents of a child born after January 1, 2005. If the couple is not registered as domestic partners, then a Declaration of Paternity should be signed or a court would need to determine who the father is. Legally there is no father of the child if the couple wasn’t married when the child was conceived or when the child was born. Even if the father can prove that he is the biological father, but was never married to the child’s mother, he has no legal rights or responsibilities for the child.

Before a court will enter an order on custody, visitation or support, paternity must be established. Should the father not admit to being the child’s parent, the court can then order the mother, father and child to have genetic testing done. If the genetic testing proves the man to be the father, then he may request visitation or custody and the court can order child support.

There are a number of reasons why establishing paternity is important to a child. These include:

— Providing financial support

— Having the father’s name on the birth certificate

— Health care coverage

— Access to medical and family history on the father’s side

— The right to inherit from the father

If you believe you are the father of a child or you are a mother who believes a man is the father of a child, an attorney can explain your legal options for proving or disproving paternity.

Source: California Courts: The Judicial Branch of California, “Parentage/Paternity,” accessed April 07, 2017

About the Author:

Dorie Anne Rogers - The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
Dorie A. Rogers, a Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California, has been an attorney since 1981 with an exclusive family law practice located in Orange County. She is accepting dissolution cases with support and property issues including the use of forensics to ascertain business value, community interests and to establish monthly case flow analysis. Ms. Rogers has substantial experience in high conflict custody litigation involving sophisticated psychological issues. She drafts premarital and postmarital agreement designed to define and establish parties' separate and community property interests. Paternity cases and domestic violence matters are considered part of her practice. Ms. Rogers is a court-approved and court-appointed to represent minor children.Ms. Rogers consults with individuals concerned about entering or exiting a relationship. She advises effective strategies for dissolution or premarital planning. Knowledge is power and good planning affords better results.Specialties: Family Law Specialist, Certified by the State Bar of California
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