Protect Your Child's Rights by Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity can protect the rights of your child and ensure your family receives child support as well as other services from the father. In addition, having legal status as the father can help safeguard your rights during custody and visitation arrangements. There are several ways to establish paternity in the state of California. In some cases, the father may voluntarily sign a Declaration of Paternity. However, if the suspected father denies paternity, there are other avenues that can establish his legal status.
At Rombro & Associates in Manhattan Beach, CA, our team of child custody attorneys can help you navigate the legal requirements associated with paternity. We offer a wide range of custody services and can also ensure you receive the child support you need. Call our office at (310) 545-1900 or contact us online to learn more about your options.
Why Establish Paternity?
The term paternity refers to the legal definition of fatherhood. Some of the benefits of legally recognizing the paternity of your child include:
- Legal documentation of both parents
- Including the father’s name on birth certificate
- Support from both parents
- Access to family medical history
- Health insurance coverage
- The right to inherit from either parent
- Access to Social Security or veteran’s benefits
In addition to benefiting your child’s emotional well-being, having documentation of the father’s identity can help you pursue many other legal actions, including obtaining child support.
How to Establish Paternity
One of the most common methods of determining paternity is through marriage. When a woman is married and becomes pregnant, the law assumes her husband is the legal father. Paternity is therefore established without any legal action. If you and the father are unmarried, however, there are additional actions you must take to determine legal paternity.
Declaration of Paternity
In California, when both unmarried parents voluntarily sign a Declaration of Paternity, they become the legal parents of the child. This document can be signed in the hospital as soon as the child is born. If the declaration is completed in the hospital, both parent’s names will appear on the child’s birth certificate.
Keep in mind that once this form is filed, it can be difficult or impossible to undo even if later DNA tests show the father is not the biological parent.
You can also sign a Declaration of Paternity later at a public agency, such as the local child support agency, registrar of births, or welfare office, or in the presence of a notary public or family law facilitator. The necessary forms must then be filed in order to add the father to the child's birth certificate. Keep in mind that once this form is filed, it can be difficult or impossible to undo even if later DNA tests show the father is not the biological parent.
When the suspected father is unwilling to sign a Declaration of Paternity, you can seek a court order to establish paternity. Your local child support agency can assist you or you can handle your case yourself. Our child custody attorneys can help you fill out, serve, and file the necessary paperwork to complete this process.
A blood or DNA test can facilitate the process of establishing your child’s paternity. This testing can occur even if the suspected father lives in another state. Genetic tests can be obtained through your local child support agency or with the assistance of a child custody attorney from Rombro & Associates.
Receive the Support You Deserve
Without the legal status of father, it can be difficult for a man to have the same rights and access to his child as the mother. In addition, establishing paternity is the first step to receiving the child support you need to ensure the emotional and physical well-being of your child. For more information about this process or the other family law services we provide, contact our office online or call us at (310) 545-1900 today.
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