You might think that establishing legal paternity in the 21st century would be easy due to accurate, fast and inexpensive DNA testing, but it still requires some legal hurdles. For example, a child born to a couple that’s married is presumed to be the offspring of the husband, but the mere appearance of a name on a birth certificate is not conclusive because a mother can list anybody she believes is the father. Of course, the husband may not be the biological father of the offspring of the marriage and the person the mother lists on the birth certificate is not obligated to pay child support just because his name appears there. Paternity issues can be complicated and can have a dramatic impact on a child’s life, so it’s important to work with an experienced California paternity law attorney that’s knowledgeable in this area.
Paternity and Child Support
A father that wishes to establish that he’s a child’s parent can easily accomplish this with a DNA test. If the result is positive, the father will have the right to petition to have a relationship with the child and will be obligated to support the child financially. If the child was born out of wedlock, this will also enable the father to block the mother from putting the child up for adoption. It is much more complicated when a father resists parentage in order to avoid the financial responsibilities that would be imposed on him. The stakes are high for the mother seeking support for her child, but also for the child who can benefit from:
- Access to health information;
- The right to inherit;
- Emotional and psychological closure;
- The right to sue for harm or wrongful death for the father;
- The right to workers compensation benefits if the father dies and
- Dependent-based public assistance.
Whether you’re seeking an order of paternity or opposing it, the stakes can be high, so it’s important to work with a California paternity attorney with a great deal of experience with this type of matter.
DNA Testing In Paternity Matters
Back in the day, paternity cases were thrown out of court if they could prove that the mother had sexual relations with more than one man in or around the time of conception. Today, the alleged father only needs to submit a saliva swab to prove or disprove paternity with 100 percent accuracy, rendering defenses such as being out of state, being impotent or being sterile obsolete.
Court Actions For Paternity
DNA testing is conclusive, but there are still hurdles required to force a presumptive father to undergo the testing. A paternity action can only be brought by a person that has standing to do so, such as:
- The child’s mother;
- A man who believes he is the father;
- A licensed adoption agency;
- A child support agency or
- A child that’s 12 years or older.
After the order is filed by a person with standing, and the testing is completed that established paternity, the court will issue an order that establishes custody, parenting time and financial support for the child.
California Paternity Attorney
If you would like to petition for paternity or are faced with a claim of paternity that you’d like to oppose, it’s important to hire an experienced and reputable California paternity attorney that can guide you through the process. Envision Family Law, LLP maintains a tradition of excellence for every case and client.