Paternity carries many rights and obligations. Therefore, establishing the paternity of a child is important to mothers and supposed fathers as well as the child. At Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, we are committed to working with men and women to help establish the paternity of a child.
In California, many children are born out of wedlock and raised in nontraditional families. Since child support, child custody, visitation, health insurance and inheritance rights are closely tied to the paternity of a child, it is critical to legally establish a child’s parentage. There are several ways of establishing paternity:
- Establishing paternity through the courts – Mothers, fathers and children can seek to establish paternity through the courts. Our attorneys have significant experience in guiding clients through the paternity process. In California, the courts can compel alleged parents to submit to blood or saliva tests to establish paternity. Modern DNA testing can prove paternity with a 99.999 percent accuracy rate. California paternity law authorizes blood tests in cases where parentage is disputed.
- Voluntary declaration of paternity – A declaration of paternity is a voluntary method of establishing the parentage of a child. Parents can sign a declaration of paternity at the hospital, and the father’s name can be placed on the birth certificate. It is important to be certain of parentage prior to signing a declaration of paternity. It is extremely difficult to withdraw the declaration once it has been signed, and judges make custody, visitation and support decisions based on declarations of paternity. It is prudent to talk with a lawyer experienced in paternity matters prior to signing any voluntary declaration of paternity.