The issue of paternity is complex and the laws surrounding it vary state by state. If you are a father or couple who are seeking to determine your parentage in California, you may be wondering what your next step should be. What is a paternity test? How do you get tested? In California, there are three ways you can go about establishing paternity.
Go To Court
When parents think of determining parentage, this is typically the method they think of. This also tends to be the hardest method to determine paternity. If a child’s mother is trying to prove the parentage of a child, and the other parent is denying their paternity, a mother can go to court to establish it. Alternatively, if an alleged father wants to prove their paternity to have rights to custody of a child, they can also go to court to establish parentage.
When going to court, the judge will order a genetic paternity test.. If the alleged father refuses, the noncooperation can be considered evidence of parentage.
To go to court, you must fill out and file several legal documents. These are complex and require a trained eye. Please consider hiring an experienced paternity attorney. LPEP Law serves the greater Bay Area. Set up a free consultation with them here.
Get The Child Support Agency To Determine Paternity
The local child support agency has a right to ask the court for an order on paternity, just as the child’s mother or alleged father does. Having the child support agency provide this service for you is free and can take some of the stress off yourself. In addition to establishing parentage, they will also file for a child support order.
You can obtain these services by calling the local child support agency and setting up an appointment to open a case for paternity and support. If a father denies being the parent of a child, a mother can even open a case while still pregnant for a genetic test to be administered after the child is born.
If a parent is on welfare for the child, the child support agency will automatically open a case for paternity.
Sign A Voluntary Declaration
A declaration of parentage is a legal document that parents sign to claim themselves as the legal parents of a child. It is always voluntary. This document is usually signed by both parents in the hospital after a child is born. However, in cases where this didn’t happen, the declaration can still be signed as long as certain rules are followed.
For a declaration to be signed outside of the hospital, there are only certain public locations that the form can be signed at. The form must be signed in the presence of the local child support agency, the welfare offices, the Registrar of Birth, the local superior court, or the local family law facilitator. You can find your California family law facilitator here. The form must then be filed with Child Support Services to go into effect, and then it holds the same weight as a court order establishing parentage.
After the declaration of parentage is filed, orders for custody and visitation can be filed by a judge. The Court can also make orders for child support. A voluntary declaration of parentage grants both parents who signed it an equal right to custody, but also means they both have a responsibility to support and provide for the child. To learn more about voluntary declarations of parentage in the state of California, visit here.
When You Don’t Need A Paternity Case
There are certain instances in which you don’t need a paternity case in California. These include:
- An unmarried couple signs a voluntary declaration of paternity.
- You are married to the other parent. (This applies to same sex marriages and heterosexual marriages alike).
- Two parties in a DVRO case agree to paternity of a child and the court entered judgement about paternity.
- The child support agency filed a paternity case.
If you live in the State of California and are curious about starting a paternity case, get in touch with our San Jose, California attorneys today. Get questions like “what is a paternity test?” answered. We can help you with the complex paperwork that comes with going to court and can help ensure the process goes smoothly. We offer free 30-minute consultations with our experienced team of attorneys. You can set up your free consultation here. To learn more about paternity, visit us here.