Paternity is the legal term used to name the father of a child. In California, paternity can be established in a number of ways. It is presumed that, if a husband is married to the child’s mother when a child is born, he is presumed to be the father.
In the eyes of the law, a child’s mother is always assumed to be the legal parent, regardless of whether or not she was married to the child’s father at the time of birth. As a result, a father who isn’t married to the child’s mother will need to take legal action in order to establish paternity and gain legal recognition as the child’s father.
If both parents agree on the identity of the father, they can sign a voluntary Declaration of Paternity form. This form must be signed in front of a witness and notarized. It can be completed at the hospital when the child is born or at any time after birth. Once the form is signed, it is legal proof of paternity and cannot be undone without a court order.
If the parents disagree on who the father is, paternity can be established through DNA testing. The mother, child, and alleged father must all submit to DNA testing, and if the results show that there is a more than 99% chance that the man tested is the child’s father, the court will legally recognize him as the legal parent. Once paternity is determined, the name of the father can be added to the child’s birth certificate, and he will be given legal rights and responsibilities.
A father can establish paternity up to three years after the child’s 18th birthday, but there are several advantages to doing it sooner.
Why a Father Would Want to Establish Paternity in California
There are many benefits to establishing paternity, both for children and parents. For a child, establishing paternity provides a sense of identity and belonging. In some cases, it can also help children to access medical information from their father’s side of the family. It also entitles the child to financial support from the father and inheritance rights if the father should pass away.
For the father, establishing paternity offers legal rights such as visitation, custody, and taking part in any decision-making regarding the child’s health, education, religious instruction, and activities. It allows the father and the child to bond and develop a legal relationship.
We Can Help You With Your Case
If you are considering establishing paternity, or if you have questions about it, please contact our office for a free consultation. We are ready to discuss your case with you and answer any questions you may have. Our lawyers at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri specialize in family law and have helped families in San Jose and the greater Bay Area. We can help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights as a father are protected. Call us at 408-553-0801 or fill out our contact form today.