When a child's parents are married at the time their child is born, the law assumes that the husband is the child's father. But, unmarried couples have an extra hurdle to jump over. Paternity proceedings legally establish a father's relationship to their child, which gives the father rights and obligations under California law. Establishing paternity is important for these couples because it ensures their child is entitled to the parental support they need.
The Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch in Westlake Village can help guide you through this process, whether paternity is disputed or taken on voluntarily. As a certified family law specialist with over 35 years of experience practicing law, I provide personable, skilled advocacy for families in Thousand Oaks and throughout Ventura County.
How Is Paternity Established?
Paternity can be proven in a few different ways. Many are familiar with the idea of paternity "tests," DNA tests to determine whether someone is a child's biological father. These tests are often used during paternity lawsuits, where the potential father is not voluntarily taking on parenting obligations. But, these tests are not always necessary.
If a child's parents get married after the child is born, they can establish parentage by signing a "legitimation form." Once this form is signed, everyone has the rights and obligations they would have had if the child had been born after the marriage took place.
A father can also voluntarily assume paternity by signing an acknowledgment and filing it with the local courts.
Why Is Paternity Important?
Paternity is important because, if a child's parents break up, a father cannot gain custody or be ordered to pay child support unless they are legally established as the child's father. It is also necessary for a child to inherit funds or property from their father. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine the best course of action for your family.
Call Today To Learn More
We gladly offer free initial consultations, where you can sit down with a knowledgeable family lawyer to discuss your case. You can reach us online or by calling our offices in Westlake Village at 818-237-4574.