In California, parents can establish the paternity of a child in various ways. For married couples, or those in a registered domestic partnership after January 1, 2005, the law presumes a child born to the couple is the child of the husband/partner. Parents who are unmarried at the birth of a child can sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity to include the father/partner’s name on the child’s birth certificate and confer parental rights and responsibilities on that parent.
Outside of these situations, a child’s paternity or parentage may be unclear. It is therefore sometimes necessary for a court to establish a child’s parentage before granting certain rights or benefits to the child. These include —
- Financial support for both mother and child
- The right to inherit the father’s estate
- Health insurance
- Public benefits, if the father is disabled or a veteran
Establishing parentage requires a paternity action asking the court to recognize the legal parents of the child, generally through genetic testing of the mother, child and alleged father. A court can order such testing on its own or at the request of the man believed to be the father or another party to the proceeding. Since the court will not issue any child support or custody and visitation orders without establishing a child’s parentage, these tests are often required in child support and custody cases.
If you need help getting the father of your child to fulfill his financial support obligations, or assistance in establishing parentage so you can assert your parental rights to raise a child, or even be allowed to have contact with your child, Christine McClane Tesi can help you achieve those goals. Call today to schedule a consultation with Ms. Tesi or use our Contact page to email us.