Paternity and Parentage Basics in California
Most people think about paternity in the context of paternity tests to determine who is the father of a child. While this is one aspect of paternity, parentage arises in other scenarios as well.
For example, it is common for an individual to desire to be deemed a parent of the child and to willingly accept the responsibility that comes with parenting a child. In these cases, establishing parentage and paternity is imperative before dealing with other issues such as child custody and child support payments among other things.
Establishing Paternity in California
In California, there are three ways that one can establish paternity that is recognized by the state. First, an individual can sign a voluntary declaration of paternity. This is the most common way that paternity is established and it usually happens in the hospital after a child is born. Both parents are asked to sign the birth certificate and that birth certificate then becomes a legally binding document that can be used in future legal proceedings.
Second, an individual can ask a child support agency to establish paternity. The child support agency may facilitate services such as requesting a genetic test to determine the parentage of the child. Third, an individual can file documents with a local court to establish paternity. This will lead to a trial before a judge that includes conversations about custody, visitation and child support.
Why Is Paternity Important?
Paternity is important because it creates legal rights that are enforceable and recognized by California. These include rights to make decisions about a child’s living arrangements, education and general upbringing. Additionally, it brings fiscal benefits like allowing one to claim a child as a dependent for a refund on their taxes. This, with other additional benefits, makes establishing paternity very important to formalize an individuals recognized rights.
Hiring an Attorney
Anyone who is attempting to establish paternity in California courts should immediately contact an attorney who is qualified and experienced working on paternity cases. This is because the process can quickly become complicated and oftentimes there is only one chance to argue to the court for paternity.
In Los Angeles, the attorneys at Whitmarsh Family Law, PC are experienced in providing legal assistance to those who are seeking or contesting paternity. We are available for an initial consultation to evaluate paternity cases and provide advice for a route to success. We invite you to contact us at (310) 552-3505 to schedule a consultation, today.