Establishing paternity through the required legal steps can be a personal step you’d like to take to provide for your children. No matter your reasoning, you can prepare for the process by understanding the options you have to declare your paternity in the sunny state of California.
Essentially, if you aren’t married to your child’s other parent, then there are two ways you can establish paternity. Depending on the terms you are on with your child’s other parent and whether your child is born yet, you can determine if it’s possible to file the proper paperwork or if you’ll have to take the matter to court.
One way to establish paternity is by signing a voluntary declaration of parentage. The form requires a signature from each parent. And the signing process is meant to be at the will of each party and not a forced action. If your child has yet to be born, then you can do take this route at the hospital following the birth. But if the window to sign the form at the birth has passed, you can acquire and sign a form at the nearest child support agency, registrar of birth, welfare office or with a family law facilitator.
Go to court
While signing a form might sound like an easier route, it’s not always doable for every parent. When one parent isn’t exactly willing to sign the form, you can collect and sign a few different forms and file a court order. It’s important to note that although a court setting may offer chance to have witnesses to back you up, a judge who might not know how great of a father you are ultimately has the final say. Thankfully, you can seek legal aid to guide you through the ins and outs of a paternity trial.
Through either signing a voluntary form or filing a court order, a family law attorney can help protect your rights.