One important aspect of family law in California is establishing paternity. In addition to providing an emotional benefit to the child, paternity provides other rights and responsibilities that are helpful to know.
In California, there are different ways to establish paternity. Both parents can sign a form at the hospital when the child is born, called a voluntary declaration of paternity.
If the parents do not agree on paternity, either parent can request a paternity court order. The court may order the proposed father to take a genetic test. If the test determines that he is the child’s father, the court will issue a paternity order.
Once the court establishes paternity, the child is entitled to receive child support. Both parents have a responsibility to provide for the child’s financial needs, like housing, food, clothing and medical care. Paternity also allows the father to seek child custody and visitation rights.
Child support process
To request child support, one parent must file a petition with the court and serve the other parent with the documents. Some parents may be able to resolve child support through mediation, where a neutral third party listens to each side and helps them come to a decision.
In other situations, the court may hold a hearing to decide on child support where the parents will provide income and expense information. The court will issue a final order for child support.
If parents need help to establish paternity or to request child support, there is assistance available.