How Do I Dispute Paternity In California?


At the Law Offices of Bruce A. Mandel, we understand that it is critical to establish paternity in cases where one parent is not contributing to the financial support of a child. It is also critical to establish paternity for parents who want to gain child custody and visitation rights. On the other hand, we know that disputing paternity is essential to protect your rights when you are wrongfully named as a child’s parent.

If you have been named or believe you will be named as the parent of a child who is not your biological child or legal responsibility, you need a paternity dispute attorney who will protect your rights. While you may have the right to establish that you are not a child’s parent, if you wait too long, you may lose the right to dispute paternity.

Parental Presumption

In California, a child born during a marriage or domestic partnership is presumed to be the child of both partners. Because of this parental presumption, it is an uphill battle to dispute paternity in these situations. With an experienced and knowledgeable attorney advocating for your rights, however, you are more likely to succeed in your paternity dispute matter.

The Right To Dispute Parentage

When paternity has not been legally established in California, you may dispute parentage by requesting a DNA test to prove that you are not a child’s biological parent. In other dispute cases, DNA is not a factor in paternity matters. For example, in a same-sex couple relationship, one partner who has a biological child or adopts a child may name his or her partner as a co-parent. The named co-parent may dispute parentage if he or she never intended nor agreed to be the child’s parent.

Challenges To Paternity Disputes

If a court order has already established your parentage or if you have signed a voluntary declaration of paternity, disputing paternity is much more challenging. It is not always impossible, however, depending on the circumstances of your case.

As mentioned above, a child born during a marriage or domestic partnership is presumed to be the spouses’ child. In many cases, there may only be a short two-year window from the time of the child’s birth or the discovery that the child is not your biological child to dispute your parentage. In most cases, if you miss the window, paternity cannot be successfully challenged.

California Paternity Disputes

We know that paternity disputes are often highly emotional and stressful. If you have been named as a parent of a child that is not your biological child, you need to act to protect your financial rights and obligations. Contact paternity disputes attorney Bruce A. Mandel at 424-250-9130 or submit an online form to schedule a consultation.

We have been fighting for our clients’ rights in paternity disputes and other family law matters for close to three decades, and we will fight for you. Follow us on Facebook for more information about our law firm and California family law updates.

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