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What Parents and Presumed Parents Should Know About Paternity

Paternity issues are similar to other family law legal matters, in that they are serious issues affecting the long-term well being of children, and the courts will treat them seriously.

In order to resolve parentage issues, mothers, fathers and/or presumed fathers should understand some basic information about California paternity laws 

When You Might Need To Establish Parentage

If you are married or divorcing and there are no concerns about infidelity, paternity is probably not a concern.

However, establishing parentage can be crucial if you:

  • Adopt a child or will be giving a child up for adoption
  • Are a man not married to the mother
  • Are a husband or wife who questions the paternity of your child
  • Are an unmarried woman at the time your child is born

Why You Might Need To Establish Parentage

Establishing the identity of the biological father of a child is can be crucial for a few reasons.

  • It can provide crucial information about a child's biological history, which can be vital for medical and personal reasons.
  • It can allow a mother to file a request seeking child support.
  • It allows fathers to enforce their parental rights and seek child custody or visitation.

How Paternity Is Established

Paternity can be established in several different ways, provided that the individual alleging the parental relationship acts promptly after the conception of the child:

  • Through the presumption of marriage
  • By signing a Declaration of Paternity form (usually at the hospital)
  • With a court order (sometimes after a blood test)

What To Do If You Have Questions

California paternity law is complex and confusing. If paternity is in dispute, hire legal counsel immediately. 

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