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Determining parentage in Los Angeles

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2022 | Family Law

Having a child is an extraordinary and emotional experience. However, it can also trigger legal issues if there are questions or doubts about a child’s biological father. Under these circumstances, establishing parentage can be necessary.

When is determining paternity necessary?

There are myriad situations in which a parent or presumed parent would want to legally establish who a child’s biological father is. Some examples include:

  • A mother wanting to collect child support from the father
  • A father wanting to seek time with and access to his child
  • Parents are unmarried at the time a baby is born
  • A mother had multiple partners at the time of conception
  • A mother or child is looking for more information about the child’s medical, racial or cultural background

Under these circumstances, legally identifying a child’s biological father can be crucial.

How do we establish paternity?

Establishing paternity in California can happen in a few different ways.

The first way is by doing so voluntarily. Often, this happens when parents are not married, but there are no doubts over parentage. In these situations, the father can voluntarily sign a declaration of parentage or paternity.

Local child support agencies (LCSA) can bring an action to establish the parentage of a child. Parents can ask their LCSA to get a court order.

Parents can also petition the courts themselves for an order naming the legal father of a child. In either case, the process may or may not involve genetic testing.

It is also important for parents to know that if a mother is married, her husband is presumed to be the father. If they are unmarried at the time of birth but later marry, the father can agree to put his name on the birth certificate.

Protecting your rights

Legally establishing parentage gives parents rights and obligations. These include the right to petition the courts for custody and visitation as well as the obligation to support that child financially.

On the other hand, someone who is not the biological parent would not have legal responsibilities for that child, financial or otherwise.

If you are a mother, father or presumed father, establishing parentage can help you make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes and assumptions.

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