If you have a child with your spouse, meaning that you are legally married, there is usually no question about parentage. In this case, the law assumes that the husband is the father. When two parents are unmarried, however, it may be necessary to establish paternity for reasons of financial support and custody. Unless paternity has been established, the father would not be entitled to seek custody or visitation rights, and the mother would not be entitled to seek child support from the father.
Even if a man can prove that he is the biological father of a child, he cannot exercise his legal rights—nor can he be asked to contribute to the financial responsibilities of raising the child—until parentage has been established through the proper legal channels. This process requires the man to take a DNA test, proving that he is the father, and obtain an official court order that recognizes both biological parents. Once this has been done, both parents would be able to exercise their respective legal rights.
Do you need help with a paternity case in Pasadena, CA? Contact the family law attorneys at Gille Law Group for a free case consultation. We have 80+ years of combined legal experience!
Why a Mother May Want to Establish Paternity
Under the law, both parents are required to financially support their child. Failing to do so would be a crime. If you were not married to the father of your child, however, you may have a difficult time obtaining child support—which could be an immense burden on your family. Even if the father agrees to pay support, you would not be able to legally enforce this arrangement unless parentage has been established. For this reason, it would be in your best interest to make sure that all of your bases are covered.
Other reasons for establishing paternity may include:
- Being able to seek financial support from the father
- Having both parents’ names on the child’s birth certificate
- Giving your child the right to inherit from their father
- Having legal documentation identifying both parents
- Having access to family medical records and history
Why a Father May Want to Establish Paternity
If a man has not been legally established as the father of a child, they cannot be expected to pay child support; however, the other side of this is that they wouldn’t have the right to seek custody or visitation rights. If you are interested in spending time with your biological child, but you were never married to their mother, you would have no say in how a visitation schedule is arranged—unless, of course, you establish paternity. Apart from taking a DNA test, you will also need to file your case with the court.
The law may already presume that you are the father of a child if:
- You were legally married to the mother when the child was born
- You attempted to marry the mother, even if the marriage was not valid
- You married the mother after the birth and agreed to support the child
- You welcomed the child into your home & acted as if they were your own
If you are interested in learning more about the process of establishing parentage in California or acquiring the necessary forms to file a new paternity case with the court, please click here.
How Gille Law Group Can Help with Your Paternity Case
Whether you are a mother or father who wishes to establish paternity, you can count on the Pasadena family lawyers at Gille Law Group to guide you through this complicated process. Our team is headed by a certified family law specialist, so you can trust that your case will be in highly capable hands. We also offer more than 80 years of combined legal experience, so don’t wait to give us a call!