Paternity Lawyer in San Diego, CA
When a child is born to parents who are married, the fact of their marriage is sufficient to recognize them as the child’s legal parents in the eyes of the law. But the cultural norm that once dictated that marriage is a necessary prerequisite to producing offspring has faded into history, and many couples and single women choose to begin families without the benefit of a marriage partner. Not only heterosexual couples, but married and unmarried same sex marriage couples are enjoying parenthood. Contact a San Diego, CA based paternity law attorney for a free legal consultation if you are in need of legal help.
Unless the parents are legally married or registered domestic partners at the time of the child’s birth, parentage is never assumed, but must be established legally by means of a California paternity action. If a single woman bears a child, even if it has been proven who the biological father is, he will not have parental rights until the court legally establishes paternity. If the woman proves the man to be her child’s biological father, she will still need to establish paternity in the court before being able to receive support for the child.
Establishing Paternity Creates Rights for Children
After being presented with appropriate evidence, a court will determine who the legal parents are, which establishes certain important rights of the children, including the right to support. It also gives the legal parents both the right to visitation with the child, as the law aims to promote “frequent and ongoing contact” between a non-custodial parent and a child. It is important that children know who their legal parents are. Some of the rights children are entitled to from their married or unmarried parents include:g
- The right to receive financial support from both legal parents
- Having a birth certificate bearing the names of both parents
- Being able to obtain health records and medical histories from both parents’ families
- Eligibility for health insurance benefits from either or both parents
- Inheritance rights from both parents
- The right to social security and veteran’s benefits, where applicable
- The right to know and spend time with both parents, in most cases
After paternity is established legally, the court can make appropriate orders to give the child the benefit of these legal rights.
How Paternity is Legally Determined
It is indisputable who the mother of a child is, but determining the father will require a court order. There are several circumstances that, in most cases, will cause a court to name a man as a child’s legal father:
- If both parents voluntarily sign a Declaration of Paternity establishing the identity of the father;
- If the two were married at the time the child was conceived or born
- If the man tried to marry the child’s mother but the marriage was not valid, and the child was conceived or born during the period of the invalid marriage
- If the man married the mother after the child was born and agreed to have his name on the birth certificate or to support the child
- If the man openly accepted the child into his home and openly treated the child as his own. If the man assumed the role of father to the child, the court may declare him the legal parent even if he is shown not to be the biological father. This is referred to as “parentage by estoppel”
- If the man does not believe or admit that he is the biological father, court-ordered genetic testing of the mother, child and alleged father may be necessary to establish paternity
Every child has the right to know who his or her parents are. When parentage is disputed, it is often helpful to have a highly skilled and compassionate attorney by your side, to guide you through the process and represent your interests and those of your child before the court. At the Boyd Law Firm in San Diego, we handle many California paternity cases, including high profile and celebrity paternity actions, with discretion and confidentiality. Call Boyd Law today to arrange for a no cost, no obligation meeting with an experienced family law attorney in San Diego, for the best outcome for you and your child.