Paternity disputes and paternity fraud cases are quite common across the United States. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, approximately 30% of possible fathers who had a cause to take a paternity test are not the child's biological father. Paternity fraud occurs when a child's mother misidentifies a man as the child's biological father. Establishing paternity is important to dispute paternity fraud, gain custody rights and legal rights to your child.
If you live in California and you’re trying to establish paternity, consulting with an experienced California family law attorney is important for detailed guidance. Attorney Karen S. Brown is committed to offering comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy in paternity matters. Whether you are a father trying to establish custody rights or a mother looking to implement a support agreement and parenting plan, she can offer you the experienced legal counsel and advocacy you need to navigate key decisions.
The Law Office of Karen S. Brown proudly serves clients across Los Angeles County, Long Beach, Ventura County, Beverly Hills, and Orange County, California.
Paternity encompasses more than having the father's name on the child's birth certificate. Establishing paternity can be described as the legal process of determining the biological father of a child, as well as establishing the father's rights and obligations to the child. Here are some reasons why it is vital to establish paternity:
Establishes a relationship with both parents
Receives shelter, financial support, and assistance from the father
Gains access to personal information such as health risks and medical history
Gains access to medical insurance and other benefits
Learns about the family history
Gains the right to inherit the father's estate
Gains the right to receive Social Security and veteran's benefits
Gains the right to sue for harm or death to the father
Shares parental responsibilities with the father
Shares the costs of upbringing their child
Shares custody with the father
Establishes child support payments with the father
Allows for parenting time or visitation schedules
Gains legal rights to their child
Participates in their child's life
Gains the ability to seek custody or parenting time
Shows how much they care for their child
Establishes a cordial relationship with the child
In California, there are two main ways to establish paternity — voluntarily or through a court order.
Establishing paternity voluntarily involves signing a "voluntary declaration of parentage or paternity." When both parents sign a declaration of parentage or paternity, they are established as the child's legal parents. It can be signed at the hospital when the child is born or done later. Once signed, the names of both parents will go on the child's birth certificate. In order to be effective, the declaration form must be filed with the California Department of Child Support Services Parentage Opportunity Program.
You can get a court order on your own or with the help of the Local Child Support Agency. To start your paternity case, you should file a petition for parentage in the county where your child lives. Either parent can start a case to establish paternity. The steps for filing a case include:
Fill out your court forms
Have your attorney help review your court forms
Make extra copies of all your forms for record purposes
File your forms with the County Court clerk
Serve your papers to the other parent
File your proof of service
Wait for at least 30 days for the other parent to respond
Receive the final judgment during a court hearing
When disputes occur, a petition in order to establish parentage in California may be brought up to 3 years after a child's 18th birthday. The following people may file a petition to establish paternity:
The California family court may order DNA testing if either parent denies or is unsure of paternity. An expert will swab the inside of the child, father, and mother's cheeks. This will be sent to the laboratory for analysis. The result of the DNA testing will be used to determine the biological father or issue a paternity court order.
Paternity dispute cases in California often involve a lot of complexities. If you think you're the biological father of the child, or if you're the mother of the child trying to establish who the child's father is, it is imperative that you speak with a knowledgeable California family law attorney to receive the detailed guidance you need.
Attorney Karen S. Brown has devoted her career to offering outstanding legal services and compassionate representation in legal matters of divorce, paternity, child custody, and support. As your legal counsel, she can advise and guide you through the decision-making process of establishing paternity.
Additionally, she will work diligently with all parties involved to help negotiate a fair parenting agreement, including child custody, support, and parenting time. Even if you need to file a paternity action with the California court, Karen S. Brown will offer the strong representation you need. She will fight passionately for your best interests, your child's future, and your family's wellbeing.
If you are trying to establish paternity or determine your child's biological father, call the Law Office of Karen S. Brown to schedule a consultation. Attorney Karen S. Brown can guide you through the process of establishing paternity and navigate other important decisions. She represents clients across Los Angeles County, Long Beach, Ventura County, Beverly Hills, and Orange County, California.