Overview of California Paternity Laws
The laws surrounding parentage in California are complex and routinely involve genetic testing, court orders, and an array of court forms. This is why it makes sense to retain the services of a skilled and knowledgeable Novato paternity lawyer to get a detailed assessment of your legal options. Establishing parentage is critically important, especially if you attempting to obtain child support from someone or establish a custody order. Parentage is also necessary if you need to access your child’s medical records, apply for certain government benefits, and secure health insurance for your child.
How to Establish Parentage
In California, it is possible to establish parentage by securing an official parentage judgment or a court order that states the legal parents of the child. A parentage judgment is required before a court will order custody, visitation, or child support payments.
Establishing Parentage When the Parents are Married
Under California law, when two parents are married when a child is born, there is a legal presumption that the husband is the father and the wife is the mother. In these instances, the legal presumption is embedded in the institution of marriage. In addition, California law presumes that registered domestic partners are the parents at the birth of a child.
Establishing Parentage When the Parents are Not Married
If the parents are not married when the mother became pregnant or at the time of birth, under California law, the child does not have a legal father. In this scenario, parentage must be affirmatively established. Furthermore, if a genetic or DNA test establishes who the father is, the test alone does not legally establish parentage or result in any legal responsibilities on the father. However, when a court officially establishes parentage, the rights and obligations of the father are triggered.
Establishing Parentage in Court
Under California law, it is possible to establish parentage via court order. The following individuals and entities can seek to establish parentage in court:
- The child’s mother
- The man who reasonably believes they are the father of the child
- A local child support agency
- An adoption agency
- The child themselves if they are over the age of 12
How to Dispute Paternity
If you are seeking to dispute the paternity of a child, you have the right to ask a court to order a paternity test. In order to initiate this request, you will need to serve the other party with a Summons and Petition to Determine Parental Relationship (FL-200). The other party must then respond within 30 days. If they fail to respond within this statutory deadline, a court has the power to establish the other party as the legal parent regardless of the outcome of a paternity test.
Have Questions About Paternity Laws in California? Schedule a Confidential Case Review with an Experienced Paternity Attorney in Novato Today
If you are seeking to establish parentage or want to contest parentage, Castro Law Offices is here to help. Castro Law Offices is a premier California law firm specializing in paternity issues, divorce, child custody, and all other issues concerning domestic relations. Castro Law Offices is based in Novato, California, but is ready and able to provide legal services and advice to clients in and around Marin County including Novato, San Rafael, Greenbrae, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Sausalito, Larkspur, West Marin, Ross, Mill Valley and Corte Madera. Contact Castro Law Offices today to schedule a confidential consultation.