What is Paternity in California?

February 19, 2023

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Establishing paternity in California is an important legal step for unmarried parents who want to secure the rights and responsibilities of both the father and the child. In this article, we'll explore the process of establishing paternity in California and what you need to do to ensure your child's future is protected.


What is Paternity in California?


Paternity refers to the legal recognition of the father of a child born to unmarried parents. In California, establishing paternity is a two-step process. First, the father must acknowledge that he is the biological father of the child, and second, the court must enter a judgment of paternity.


Why is Establishing Paternity Important?


Establishing paternity is crucial for several reasons, including:


Legal rights and responsibilities: A father who establishes paternity has the legal right to seek custody and visitation of the child. He also has the responsibility to support the child financially.


Health benefits: Children born to unmarried parents are entitled to receive medical benefits from both parents.


Inheritance: Children born to unmarried parents have the right to inherit from both parents.


Emotional and psychological benefits: Children benefit from having a relationship with both parents, which can have a positive impact on their emotional and psychological well-being.


How to Establish Paternity in California?


There are two ways to establish paternity in California: voluntarily through a Declaration of Paternity or through a court-ordered judgment.


Voluntary Declaration of Paternity


The simplest and most common way to establish paternity in California is through a voluntary Declaration of Paternity. This is a legal document that both parents sign to acknowledge that the father is the biological father of the child. The Declaration of Paternity can be signed at the hospital immediately after the child is born.

Judgment of Paternity


If the father and mother are unable to agree on who the biological father of the child is, a court-ordered judgment of paternity may be necessary. This process involves filing a petition with the court and presenting evidence to establish the father's paternity. The court will then enter a judgment of paternity, which legally recognizes the father as the biological parent of the child.


Conclusion


Establishing paternity in California is an important step for unmarried parents who want to secure the rights and responsibilities of both the father and the child. Whether you choose to establish paternity voluntarily through a Declaration of Paternity or through a court-ordered judgment, it is important to understand the process and the benefits it provides for both the father and the child. If you need assistance in establishing paternity in California, it is recommended that you seek the help of a family law attorney.

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This material is provided for educational purposes only. Providing this information does not establish an attorney/client relationship. None of the information contained in this newsletter should be acted upon without first consulting with an attorney. Should you have questions about the content of this newsletter, please arrange to discuss via a consultation.