Establishing Paternity In Orange County
Gill Law Group, PC handles paternity actions for both fathers and mothers who are seeking to establish paternity and parental rights. We understand the sensitive nature of paternity cases and, as such, represent clients with the highest levels of discretion and confidentiality. Our family law firm strives to resolve your paternity case quickly and efficiently so you and your child can move on with peace of mind. In California, paternity can be established:
- Voluntarily. When a couple is married, the husband is presumed to be the father, who will then be listed on the child’s birth certificate.
- By a paternity suit. When the mother is unmarried or there is a dispute regarding paternity, the mother can file a paternity action to verify parentage through DNA testing.
Once paternity is established, we can assist with other related issues such as child support and child custody/visitation.
Why Paternity Is Important
The rights and responsibilities of a parent derive from the parent-child relationship. The law recognizes specific legal duties that a parent owes to their child. Without a parent-child relationship, rights such as custody, visitation, and child support are unenforceable. Additionally, the existence of a parent-child relationship between two individuals affords inheritance rights between the parent and their child.
Paternity—also known as “parentage” under California law—is a legal process where the question of whether a parent-child relationship exists is determined by courts. As a result, parentage suits are important proceedings that can deeply affect the lives of the parties involved.
Protecting Parental Rights
Paternity proceedings are the first step in protecting a parent’s legal rights and responsibilities regarding the care, custody, and control of their children. Likewise, such proceedings are a significant starting point for securing financial support for minor children. Given the significance of such proceedings, retaining effective legal counsel to preserve those rights is vital to the interests of the parties.
In California, issues of parentage can be resolved through judicial determination. Several legal presumptions conclusively establish the fact of paternity. Paternity is legally presumed in the following situations:
- Marital status: If an individual was legally married to the child’s birth mother at the time of their birth, the law presumes that they are the child’s legal parent.
- Voluntary acknowledgment: A parent who is not married to the child’s birth mother may establish parentage if they filed a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage when their child was born.
- Genetic testing: The genetic relationship between a person and a child provides conclusive evidence of parentage. This genetic connection may be demonstrated through the results of a certified blood test indicating a significant genetic relationship between the purported parent and the child.
- The child’s best interests: Like child custody proceedings, the issue of parentage—and the rights that come along with it—are subject to a judicial assessment of whether the recognition and enforcement of parental rights would serve the child’s best interests.
Rights Of Parents & Children
It is not enough to simply be declared a child’s father on a birth certificate. Once parentage is established, the father is obligated to provide financial support and care for the child. The child can also enjoy rights and the benefit of knowing his or her father. Once paternity is established:
- The child can enjoy inheritance rights from the father
- The father has a right to participate in deciding the child’s health care, religion, education, etc.
- The mother has a right to seek child support from the father
- The child can have access to the father’s veteran’s benefits, social security, health insurance, and medical history