Understanding the importance of establishing paternity
Paternity is an important concept because it shapes so much of what it means for a child. In California, the law automatically assumes that a husband is a child’s father if that child is born to a married couple. However, if a couple is not married, there are some additional steps that are needed. In most cases, this is not a contentious issue.
If two parents are unmarried at the time their child is born, but then decide to get married, they can sign a “legitimation form” that will ensure that both parents have the rights and obligations that they would have otherwise had if married at the time of the birth.
Will a DNA test be required?
In the instances described above, a DNA test will not likely be required. However, there are situations in which one may be necessary. This could include if:
- The alleged father is not providing for the child or is denying he is the father.
- A man believes he is the father of a child and wants parental rights.
With help from an attorney, you will be able to petition the family court to order a DNA test.
Where can problems arise by not establishing paternity?
California law requires that both parents contribute to their child’s well-being. Establishing a child’s paternity ensures that both the parents’ and child’s rights are upheld. If a couple is married, the child is likely to have support from both parents. However, in the event, a couple divorces or is separated, the only way to enforce issues regarding child support, child custody, and visitation.
Establishing paternity is also necessary for a child to receive any inheritance or property from their father in the event of the father’s death.
What if the Husband is Not the Biological Father?
It is assumed in the eyes of the law that if a married couple has a child that the husband is the biological father to that child. Oftentimes, there will be no question and a DNA test will not be conducted. However, if it is found that the husband is not the biological child, things can change rapidly.
These cases can have an outcome where biology does not supersede parental rights. The husband will be the presumed father and can be held to pay child support in the event of a divorce. This means he will also have visitation and custody rights; one exception is if the child is under the age of two and the court has been petitioned for a paternity test by the biological child.
These situations can tricky fairly quickly which is why you will need a Westlake Village paternity attorney in your corner to ensure that you have rights to your child and are protected. The goal of the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch is to ensure that you are treated fairly in a paternity dispute. You should not be strung along or denied your rights.
Why do You Need to Establish Paternity in Westlake Village?
There have been many cases where a couple does not work out and they can amicably keep the arrangement going. Then all of a sudden things change, typically a significant other comes into the picture. At first, you try to be supportive and accommodating but fairly quickly you realize you are spending less and less time with your child.
This is where you need to protect yourself as a father and ensure that paternity is established this can be done from birth. You will then have the foundation to build a parenting plan that can be put in place by the court. Things change but you should not miss out on time with your child as a result.
Steps to Establishing Paternity
There are several ways that paternity can be established according to the Judicial Branch of California. The first is when both unmarried parents sign a declaration of parentage form. This means that they both agree about the parentage of the child. Another option is when a child support agency works to establish parental rights. One final method is to establish parental rights yourself through the court. This requires filling out various forms and may require you both to go in front of a judge. If you do go the court route you will need legal representation.
Paternity and Child Custody
Paternity is crucial for child custody cases. Every family will have different needs but it is imperative that paternity is established and documented in order to work on child support and child custody topics. The most complex cases we see are when the parents are unwed and tensions are high among them. This can lead to a range of other issues. In the end, a parental agreement will need to be reached for the wellbeing of the child.
Turn to us when you have paternity issues
Establishing paternity is valuable. Maybe you are a mother struggling to get support from a father. Perhaps you are a father who is being denied parental rights. With help from an experienced Westlake Village paternity attorney, you can get through this. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we are certified family law specialists who understand all aspects of the paternity process. Even if your case is not related to a divorce, we will still be able to help you establish paternity. Let us help you through this today. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling 818-237-4574.