PATERNATY - PARENTAGE LAW
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Basic Paternity - Parentage Law
"Establishing parentage" in California means
saying who the legal parents of a child are if the parents
were not married when the child was born.
If the parents were married when the child was born, the
law usually considers the husband to be the father.
After January 1, 2005, if parents are registered domestic
partners when a child is born, the law assumes that the
domestic partners are parents. However, since this law is
new and unsettled, same sex parents should get legal advice
to make sure that the parentage is clear.
Parents who are not married when a child is born can sign
a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity before they leave the
hospital, or after. When people who are not married can't
agree about parentage, the court can order genetic testing.
California paternity law authorizes blood tests in cases
where parentage is disputed. The mother, child, and alleged
father will be required to submit to these blood tests.
If a party refuses to submit to blood tests then the court
has the power to resolve the parentage issue against that
Usually a child's parentage must be established before
you can get child support or custody and visitation orders.
You can ask the judge for child support or custody and visitation
as part of a case that establishes the parentage of a child.
How To Establish
Parentage (Paternity) In California:
You can establish the parentage of a child
in California if you:
Sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity
Ask Your Local Child Support Agency to
Go to Court to Establish Parentage Yourself
Voluntary Declaration Of Paternity: When both unmarried parents sign a Declaration of Paternity,
it means they are the legal parents of the child. Signing
a Declaration of Paternity is voluntary.
The parents can sign a declaration at the hospital or can
get forms at their county's
Local child support agency,
Registrar of births, or
Family law facilitator's office.
Click Here for a sample form.
If the parents sign at the hospital, the father's name
will go on the child's birth certificate, and the mother
does not need to go to court to prove who the father of
the child is.
If they sign the declaration after the child's birth certificate
has been issued, a new birth certificate can be issued with
the father's name.
After a signed Declaration of Paternity is filed with the
court, the judge can make orders for custody, visitation,
and support. Click here for help getting a custody/visitation
order. Click here for help getting a support order.
Child Support Agency Action: Your local
child support agency can bring an action to establish the
parentage of your child. As part of this action, they will
ask for a child support order. This service is free.
Your local child support agency is part of the state Department
of Child Support Services. Every county has a local
child support agency. The local agencies and the department
help parents support and provide health insurance for their
To begin the process, call them and ask for an appointment
to open a case for parentage and support. Click
here to find the local child support agency in your
here to learn more about your local child support agency
and the Department of Child Support Services.
Attorney Fees & Costs:
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