Securing Your Rights In California Paternity Cases
Determining a child’s paternity can set the tone for their development. From making it possible to secure financial support to ensuring that your kids understand their roots, paternity determinations are a critical aspect of modern child rearing in California.
Ratzer|Dobis has spent years helping parents in Solana Beach and San Diego County understand their paternity options. We’re devoted to clarifying the often-confusing particulars of and family law issues, and we work hard to furnish our clients with representation and advocacy that empowers them to make more intelligent choices in the courtroom and beyond. If you need help with your paternity case, the skillful Solana Beach paternity lawyers of Ratzer|Dobis are here to assist.
How Does Paternity Work in California?
In California, if a man and woman are married at the time a child is born, then the father is presumed to be the father. However, if they are not married, men can sign a declaration of paternity stating that they’re a child’s natural father so that their name gets added to a birth certificate — but things aren’t always that easy. Mothers may have to pursue independent paternity verification through means like DNA testing, in which case a court may order a change to a paternity record even if the father resides in another state or doesn’t cooperate. Paternity is important because it’s a prerequisite for many other matters, including:
- Child support and custody
- Access to medical records
- Receiving various assets, like insurance policy payouts, veteran’s payments and inheritances
At Ratzer|Dobis, our family law lawyers understand that paternity can be a touchy subject. We work with fathers and mothers alike, helping them gain the diverse advantages that come from establishing legally valid family relationships. By offering informed representation, our Solana Beach paternity attorneys help cement the bonds that define families and ensure that moms, potential dads and children benefit.
Does a Father Have to Pay Child Support Once Child Support Is Established?
One of the main reasons that paternity needs to be determined is to ensure that both parents pay their fair share of child support. When paternity is established, the father is responsible for providing support for the child. The child support formula used by the state of California will be used to determine how much child support payments will be.
What Happens to Custody When Paternity Is Established?
When paternity is established, the father can request custody and visitation rights through the California family court system. The court will take various factors into consideration when determining custody decisions. This will include the financial stability and living situation of both parents as well as other factors like where the child has spent most of their time.
What If a Married Woman Gets Pregnant With a Child That Isn’t Her Husband’s?
There are times when a married woman may get pregnant from a man other than her husband. This can lead to incredibly complex paternity issues because California automatically assumes that two married parents are the child’s biological parents. When this happens, the mother’s “boyfriend” has the right to ask the courts for a paternity test. However, he will only have two years to do so. After those two years, the woman’s husband will be considered the child’s legal father, and the biological father will lose his parental rights to the child.
If the husband and wife later divorce, but the husband has been determined to be the legal father, then this will proceed like a regular divorce. The husband, though not the biological father, will be responsible for child support and have custody and visitation rights.
Why Do You Need an Attorney for a Paternity Case?
Just like other family law issues, establishing paternity can be incredibly complicated. If you are a mother who is looking to establish the paternity of a father who is not fulfilling his responsibilities to their child, you may face pushback from the alleged father. If you are a father who is being shut out of his child’s life, then establishing paternity will help ensure your rights are upheld. Regardless of why you need a paternity attorney in San Diego, your lawyer will be responsible for:
- Handle all documentation necessary that needs to be filed with the courts.
- Help ensure that the results are submitted to all appropriate agencies.
- Help mothers ensure that child support payments begin (if applicable).
- Help fathers ensure their rights are maintained concerning child support and custody.
Your attorney will be your advocate, the person who handles this emotional issue for you. They will ensure you understand the court processes, what your responsibilities are for each step, and work to ensure a fair conclusion to your case.
Providing Representation for All Parties
Paternity is often portrayed as a one-sided issue, but it’s far more complex than many people give it credit for being. A father who denies their paternity may simply be unaware that they’re a biological father, and a mother who seeks to establish someone as a father may be operating on a mistaken assumption. Retaining legal representation can make it much easier to work through such confusing circumstances without your preconceptions making it harder to come to terms with the other parties.
To find out more about paternity, DNA testing or any other family law topic that affects you call our Solana Beach paternity attorneys at (858) 793-7700. We’re dedicated to helping you establish your family ties so you can benefit from California’s paternity laws.