Establishing paternity can be important to any child and to any family. There are several ways families in California can establish paternity that they should be familiar with along with the important implications of establishing paternity.
How to establish paternity
There are several ways that paternity may be established including:
- Signing a voluntary declaration: if both unmarried parents sign this document, they are considered the legal parents of the child. If it is signed at the hospital, the names of both parents will be on the birth certificate; if it is signed later, a new birth certificate can be issued with the name of the father.
- Paternity action: a paternity action may be brought by either parent to establish paternity. A paternity action will be decided by a family law court judge. A DNA test is commonly be ordered to determine the biological paternity of the child. Legal paternity can then be established.
Local child support agencies may also help parents establish paternity.
Reasons to establish paternity
Either parent of the child may seek to establish paternity. A putative father may seek to establish paternity to gain child custody or visitation rights. The mother of a child may seek to establish paternity for financial support and care of the child. Once paternity has been established, a child custody and child support requests may then be decided by the family law court.
Determining paternity is beneficial for a variety of different reasons, including emotional and financial reasons and for the support and care of the child. It may also help a putative father gain rights to the child. For those reasons, parents should be familiar with the different options for establishing paternity and how they can go about doing that.