DNA testing is routinely used to establish paternity. but advances in reproductive technology and the changing nature of families are creating new challenges in paternity actions and other family law proceedings.
As experienced attorneys, we provide a clear and rational approach to your legal problem as well as the emotional detachment and skill that is necessary to navigate through the court procedures required for paternity determination.
In almost all of the paternity cases we have handled, no doubt exists as to the identity of the father. That is, paternity actions almost always occur as mere formalities so that other legal proceedings such as child support or child custody determinations can take place.
What is Paternity?
Paternity is defined as: the state or condition of being a father.
This type of action arises when the parties, who were never legally married to each other, are the parents of a child. Either the mother or the father of the child may file the Petition to Establish Parental Relationship of a child. Once paternity is established, the court will make decisions on the issues of child custody, child support, and child visitation.
If the parties are able, at any time during the action, to reach an agreement with respect to the resolution of these issues, they then execute a Stipulated Judgment of Paternity, submit it to the court for the judge’s signature and entry, and do not need to appear in court. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, then the court will resolve the parties’ differences at a trial, and then will issue a Court Judgment of Paternity.
What You Can Do
One of the best steps you can take to preserve your emotional and financial future when facing a paternity-related legal issue is to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Most of our clients feel empowered or at least better informed of their legal options after just the initial consultation.
The Rights of Unwed Fathers in Paternity Cases
Once paternity has been established and legally confirmed in a California court, unmarried fathers and mothers both have rights with regard their child, including:
- The right to physical custody or visitation.
- The right to receive child support, depending upon custody considerations.
- The right to make and have input into decisions about their child’s medical care, education and religious upbringing.