ESTABLISHING PATERNITY IN CALIFORNIA
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