Men who wish to dispute a paternity lawsuit must take immediate action. We can help you respond to the lawsuit, obtain accurate DNA testing and defend your rights in court if necessary.
If you wish to establish paternity of a child, we can help you go through the proper channels. Once your parental rights are established, we can assist you with petitioning the court for visitation, joint custody or even sole custody of your child.
An establishment of paternity also brings parental obligations, which usually include child support payments until the child reaches the age of majority. Our team will work closely with you to determine your goals in terms of custody, visitation, and support of your child. We can also help to ensure that future family law proceedings regarding your child are fair and reasonable.
If parents are divorcing or if unmarried parents are negotiating child support, a paternity test is likely to come into play. Parents can mediate child custody between themselves and develop a parenting plan if they do not wish to be married as they raise their child. However, if the parents cannot agree on child custody, the decision will fall to a family court judge.
A judge will look at various factors when determining an appropriate child support arrangement, regardless of whether the parents are married. The judge may want to see a paternity test before proceeding with the case, or the judge may order a paternity test before the case even begins. Once paternity is established, California state law dictates that the biological parents are responsible for the care and support of a child unless someone else has offered to adopt the child or act as the child’s legal guardian with the parents’ consent. Paternity is the first determining factor a judge will consider when determining child custody and child support.
Next, the judge will assess the individual living situations of both of the parents. If both parents are capable of meeting their child’s needs independently and both parents are capable of being responsible, competent parents for their child, the judge may order joint custody on a schedule that benefits the child most. Since very young infants physically rely on their mothers more than their fathers, a judge may order joint custody in favor of the mother for the first few years of a child’s life and then expand the father’s custody rights over time. If the judge deems child support is necessary, the amount of support paid each month depends on the economic situation of the paying parent and the needs of the child.
Paternity disputes are far more common among unmarried parents than married ones. However, it’s easy for an unmarried parent to feel as though they do not have as many legal rights as they actually do under California state law. It’s vital for a parent concerned about their child’s paternity to know the legal procedures in place that can help them answer their questions and assert their rights under the law. Unmarried parents have just as many rights when it comes to their children and the family court system as married parents. To learn more about paternity in Orange County or Riverside County, California, please contact The Dorie A. Rogers, APC, at 714-602-1492 to schedule a consultation.