When a man is listed on a child’s birth certificate as the father but later learns that he is not the biological father, he may want to contest paternity. In California, specific steps must be taken to do this. If you are considering contesting paternity, it is essential to understand the process and what will be required of you.
In this blog post, we will discuss the process for contesting paternity in California and provide tips on ensuring your case has the best chance of success.
Why Someone May Want to Contest Paternity
Paternity is a legal term used to refer to the state of being a father for a particular child. In California, it can be established through various means. First and foremost, if the mother of the child is married at the time she gave birth, then her husband is presumed to be the father.
If the mother is unmarried, then legal paternity can be established by signing a voluntary declaration of paternity.
Paternity may be contested in California for several reasons, such as when a man is surprised to learn that he is legally the father of a child or if there are questions about the validity of a previous paternity test. In addition, if either party is not satisfied with the results of a DNA test performed during a paternity suit and believes it was done incorrectly or was tampered with, they may file an objection and contest paternity.
Another ground on which a man can contest his paternity is if he is married to the mother and can prove he is sterile or impotent.
Additionally, suppose a man has signed an affidavit acknowledging paternity or a voluntary declaration of paternity and filed it with the Department of Child Support Services or a court. In that case, he may contest this declaration within 60 days of signing it. Alternatively, he may challenge it at any time if there was fraud, duress, or mistakes related to his execution of the acknowledgment or declaration.
How Long Do You Have to Contest Paternity?
If a man has been served with a Summons and Complaint Regarding Parental Obligation from the local child support agency, he has 30 days to respond.
The first step is to fill out the Answer to Complaint or Supplemental Complaint Regarding Parental Obligations form. The man can ask for genetic testing to determine paternity on the form.
In other cases, one parent may file a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship Services, and the other person has 30 days to respond to the petition. If the man is disputing his paternity, then it becomes a contested case.
Contesting Paternity Is a Complicated Process
If you have reason to believe you are not a child’s father, it is vital to take action and contest paternity. The first step is to contact us for a free consultation by calling 408-553-0801. Our experienced family law attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri can help guide you through the process and work with you to build a case.