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September 09, 2022

Are you involved in a paternity dispute? Or do you need to establish that you are the legal parent of a child? Consider contacting a Pleasanton divorce and family law attorney to help you with the legal process.

What Is a Declaration of Paternity?

close-up portrait of happy young father hugging and kissing his sweet adorable newborn child

The declaration of paternity is needed to identify the father of a child. If the parents of a child are not married when the child is born, the father must take legal steps to establish parenting rights. Both parents might sign a California declaration of paternity.

In other cases, a court might require paternity testing. In some cases, the law may also determine that a child has more than 2 legal parents. One way this happens is when a DNA test finds that the child has multiple fathers.

Once paternity is established, the father will have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent. This includes the right to request custody and visitation (parenting time) orders from the court so that he can legally visit his child. The father will also be responsible for paying child support, healthcare expenses, and child-care costs.

Establishing Parentage in California

There are two ways to affirm parentage in California: voluntary declaration and a court-ordered paternity test. A Pleasanton family law attorney can help in both cases.

Voluntary Declaration of Paternity in California

The voluntary California declaration of paternity is a form that can be signed by both parents to establish paternity without going to court. You can do this at the hospital or afterward. Once the form is signed, paternity is established.

Court-Ordered Paternity Test

If there is a disagreement about parentage, a court may require a DNA test. The paternity test will compare the DNA of the child to the DNA of the potential father to see if there is a match.

Parentage in Same-Sex Relationships

Parentage disputes might arise in same-sex parenting situations if the parents were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born. The court may order one or more parents to prove the original intent was for both partners to be parents.

In a same-sex relationship, the law often presumes that the person who gave birth to the child is the child’s legal parent. However, this isn’t always the case. For example, if the mother and her partner were not married when the child was born, paternity must be established before the non-birth mother has any legal rights to the child.

The biological parent is another consideration in same-sex relationships with children. California is progressive on these issues, but they can get complicated quickly.

Disputes on Paternity

If you are not the biological or legal parent of a child, but you have been named as the parent or believe you will be named as the parent, you need to find an attorney who can protect your rights. You may have the right to show that you are not the parent of the child, but if you wait too long, you may lose that right.

In California, when a child is born during a marriage or domestic partnership, the law assumes that the child is the biological child of both partners. This is called the parental presumption. However, this does not mean it is impossible to dispute paternity in these situations. If you have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side, you are more likely to be successful in your paternity dispute case.

If you are having trouble establishing paternity or disputing a paternity case against you, contact an experienced Pleasanton family law attorney at Tierney Law Group. We can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights as a parent.