Newport Beach Paternity Lawyers
Establishing & Challenging Parentage in Southern California
If two people are married or are in a domestic partnership when a woman becomes pregnant or gives birth to a child, paternity is immediately established. If parents are unmarried, however, a man is not legally considered the father of the child until a court order is issued or an official Declaration of Paternity is signed. Even if the man can prove he is a child’s biological father, he does not have any legal rights or responsibilities to the child until parentage is established.
If you are a father interested in establishing paternity to gain custody or visitation rights, are a mother seeking child support from your child’s father, or are a mother or alleged father who wants to challenge a paternity claim, Thomas Law Offices can help. We provide experienced legal counsel to clients across Southern California in all areas of family law related to paternity and parentage. We can help with establishing or challenging paternity, depending on your situation and goals.
For a confidential consultation and review of your parentage claim, call (949) 799-3357 to speak with a Newport Beach paternity lawyer.
Establishing Paternity in California
Whether you are the mother or father, there are multiple ways to establish paternity. Of course, the most simple method is to declare it voluntarily via Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP). If an unmarried woman gives birth in a hospital, a medical care provider will give her and the alleged father information on how they can sign the VDP form. Upon signing, the father's name will be inserted into the child's birth certificate. Keep in mind, if either parent is underage, the signed VDP form will not be legal until 60 days after the parent turns 18.
The second method to establishing paternity in CA is through an action of paternity in court. This action can be brought up by the child's mother, the man who believes himself to be the father, a local child support agency, or an adoption agency.
The third method is through DNA testing. Both the mother and father are in their legal rights to request this, as both parties can benefit from it:
- Mother - by establishing paternity via DNA testing, she can ask the court for child support payments
- Father - with paternity established, the father can enjoy the rights to custody, visitation, etc.
The Rights of the Child
Establishing paternity can be very important for a child, not only on an emotional level but from a legal standpoint as well. Once paternity is established, a child has the following rights and privileges:
- The right to financial support from the father;
- The father’s name on the child’s birth certificate;
- Access to family medical records/history on the father’s side;
- Health and life insurance coverage from the father;
- The right to inherit from the father; and
- The right to social security or veteran’s benefits through the father, if applicable.
Establishing Parentage for Same-Sex Couples
Same-sex couples face a unique issue when it comes to parental rights. For example, if two unmarried women are in a relationship and agree to co-parent a child, and one carries and gives birth to a child, the other will need to establish parentage in order to have parental rights and responsibilities related to that child. Sensitive to the specific matters that impact the LGBTQIA community in Southern California, our Newport Beach paternity attorneys can help.
Contact Thomas Law Offices at (949) 799-3357 today for skilled paternity counsel. We have offices in Woodland Hills and Newport Beach to serve you.
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