Understanding Paternity in California
In California, the legal institution of marriage establishes paternity. This means that if a man is married to a woman when she gives birth to a child, the courts can presume the man to be the legal father of the child, even if he is not the biological father. Such will be the case if the man has lived with the child and the mother and has demonstrated a commitment to the child.
If a child is conceived or born when a couple is not married, the child technically does not have a legal father until the parents formally establish paternity.
How to Establish Paternity in CA
There are two main ways to establish paternity:
- Via a voluntary declaration of paternity, which both parents sign to acknowledge that they are both the legal parents of the child.
- Via judicial action, where the mother, a man who believes he is the father, an adoption agency, a local child support agency, or a child who is over the age of 12, can request an order of paternity from the court.
The court has the authority to order a paternity test to determine a child’s biological father. Those who want to dispute the paternity of their child can also request that the court order a paternity test. It is important that a court-appointed expert conducts the test, or the test will have no legal significance.
Call a San Francisco Paternity Lawyer at Fenchel Family Law PC
As with many family legal matters, paternity actions can be complicated. Let our San Francisco paternity attorneys provide the solid legal counsel you require. We can hold your hand through the entire process and ensure that the rights of you and your child are protected.
Contact Fenchel Family Law PC today at (415) 805-9069.