In California, a child’s biological and legal father is established through various steps of a paternity test. The first and most important step is to contact a California family law attorney. Second, file a petition. Other steps are pretrial hearing and genetic testing.
If you want to prove paternity before a child is born, you can carry out a prenatal test once the mother is over eight weeks pregnant. Blood tests, though less accurate, and DNA tests, more recent and accurate, are other ways for confirming paternity.
There are various reasons why parents want to determine the paternity of their child or children.
Why Do You Need A Paternity Test?
Two main reasons parents in California seek to establish the paternity of their children are providing financial support and allowing them to have custody and access to their child(ren).
Aside from these two, there are several other reasons for seeking a paternity test. Some of the other reasons include the following:
– To obtain legal documents for parenting right
– To know the valuable medical history of a child’s father
– The capacity to have both parents’ names on the child’s birth certificate
– Medical and life insurance coverage from either or both parents
– The legal right of a child to inherit from either parent
– The ability to receive veteran’s benefits or social security benefits, if eligible
– The option for the child’s father to sign documents on their behalf, i.e., releases and permission forms
Proving paternity isn’t just for the adults but the children as well. Children want stability and structure in their lives, and establishing who the parents are can help give them that.
Ways To Establish Paternity
There are two main ways to prove paternity in California. One way to do this is by signing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. Another option is going through the court.
Signing A Voluntary Declaration Of Paternity Form
When parents agree on their children’s paternity, they can request a “Voluntary Declaration of Paternity” form. This form is voluntary and requires both parents to give consent to be valid.
Aside from getting this form in court, it can be obtained and signed at the hospital. In a situation where a birth certificate has been issued earlier in the hospital, a new one will be reissued containing the father’s name.
The two parents agree that they are the parent and the man is the biological father of the children when they sign this form. Signing this form prevents the man from saying he is no longer the father later.
Moreover, anyone who signs this form gives up on the right to do several things that relate to establishing parentage. They will not be able to go to trial in court for child parentage. Nor can they request DNA testing. They also lose the ability to be notified of any hearing on child parentage, the right to present witnesses, as well as having a lawyer to represent them.
Going Through The Court
Either or both of the parents can begin a court case to ascertain the paternity of the other parent.
Going through court takes longer, and it’s more complicated. However, an experienced family law attorney who has extensive knowledge of paternity cases will greatly help.
A child support agency, the child’s mother, the man who believes he is the father, the child (older than 12), or an adoption agency can submit a paternity order in a Californian court.
The court thereafter proceeds to determine if a trial is necessary and then provides recommendations. There might be a need for the court to order genetic testing if one or both parties disagree with the court recommendation.
Establishing paternity as soon as a child is born is advisable to prevent the parents from experiencing a disagreement that might arise due to custody, visitation, and financial issues.
Get In Touch With A California Paternity Lawyer For The Next Steps In Requesting A Paternity Test
The process you go through in requesting a paternity test in California depends on various factors. Are you a parent who needs help filing for paternity for one or more children? California-based family law attorney Bruce A. Mandel will help you navigate the complicated steps involved in the paternity process.