Under the Family Code of California, there is a compelling interest for all parties involved, to establish paternity, also known as parentage. California Courts seek to reinforce ‘equal responsibility’ in parenting. Paternity actions may be initiated between non-married persons, through the District Attorney’s office under the Uniform Parentage Act, or through the Department of Child Services.
The purpose of these proceedings is to first determine the parentage of the child, in order to address many important aspects of child custody and child support. Paternity determinations establish legal and physical custodial rights for each parent, including but not limited to, visitation rights, and serves to address child support and related child expense issues.
Establishing paternity is the first step toward a child support award, which in turn, provides children with equal rights and access to the benefits of social security, health insurance, survivor benefits, military benefits and inheritance rights.
If you don’t establish paternity, your child will not be able to get necessary child support or health insurance. If the alleged father of a child lives outside the state of California, the alleged father can voluntarily accept paternity, or a local court may use information they have to decide paternity without him. If paternity is established without the alleged father’s cooperation, the court may order him to pay child support no matter where he lives, even if he is living outside of California.
If you are a man who may be the father of a newborn child, you may want to establish paternity, in order to obtain parental rights such as custody and parenting time. On the other hand, you may wish to establish that you are NOT the father, and avoid the obligation of financial support payments. Paternity may be disproved by DNA testing, or the probability of paternity may be established by DNA testing.
If you are a new mother or about to become a new mother, you may need to establish paternity in order to assure that you receive your necessary support payments. Paternity may be disproved by DNA testing, or the probability of paternity may be established by DNA testing.
Married and unmarried parties seeking to establish parentage should pay close attention to these issues and act quickly, as delaying a determination of parentage may have significant impacts on you and your child’s ability to receive support and benefits.