Paternity Your Divorce. Your Choices.


Expert Legal Support for Paternity Issues in San Diego

A determination of paternity can change the lives of a child and their family. At Family Law San Diego, our lawyers represent both mothers and fathers in paternity proceedings in San Diego county.

A dad with his son on his shoulder

We understand that every family and every situation is unique. Sometimes a mother makes a motion for paternity and the father agrees. In these family law cases, there is usually no testing involved, and the court rules the father as the child's biological parent. Other times, the mother moves for paternity and the father disagrees. The judge may order a DNA test to make the ultimate determination. Establishing paternity can change your life quickly and permanently.

  • A determination of paternity may give the legal father new rights and responsibilities under the law.
  • It may give him the right to visitation with the children.
  • It may also lead to his responsibility to pay child support.

Speak with our knowledgeable paternity attorneys in San Diego about your legal options. Call (619) 577-4900 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation now!

Benefits of Establishing Paternity for Unmarried Fathers in California

If you are an unmarried father in the state of California and hope to remain involved in the life of your child in the event of a split between you and your significant other, you will only be able to do so if you have established paternity.

For divorcing fathers, there is a legal assumption of paternity. However, if your child was not born before or after your marriage or you have never been married to or involved in a registered domestic partnership with your child’s mother, the courts do not automatically assume you are the child’s father.

If you and your unwed partner separate, you will not be eligible for:

  • Petitioning for child custody
  • Applying for visitation
  • Receiving child support
  • Access to the child's educational and medical records
  • Any other parental rights

Step-by-Step Guide to Establishing Paternity in California

  • Be present at the birth: You may establish paternity by being present when your child is born and participating in the California Department of Child Support Services’ Paternity Opportunity Program (POP).
  • Be present for the birth certificate: You can also establish paternity by being present for the completion of the child’s birth certificate and other birth papers.
  • Sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity: You can establish paternity in California by co-signing a voluntary Declaration of Paternity or later petition the courts to have your name added to your child’s birth certificate.
  • Take a DNA test: You can take a paternity test to prove a genetic link between you and your child. If you are involved in an active split from your significant other, you may have to petition the courts to allow you to take a paternity test proving your parentage.

It is also important to note that paternal family members, including aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc., will not be able to appeal for legal involvement in the lives of your children, including custody or guardianship of any kind, unless you have taken measures to prove your paternity.

Understanding Paternity and Marriage Laws in California

If a child is born during a marriage and the husband is concerned that he may not be the biological father,he has two years from the birth of the child to raise issues of paternity in California courts. At that point, the court makes a non-rebuttable presumption that the husband is the father of the child.

Legal Steps to Petition for Paternity Establishment in CA

Establishing paternity in California is a crucial step for parents seeking legal recognition and rights regarding their child. If paternity isn't automatically established, one can petition the court to do so through the following steps:

  • File a Petition: Commence the procedure by submitting a formal petition to the California family court, formally seeking the court's involvement in establishing paternity.
  • Serve the Other Parent: Provide notice to the other parent about the petition. This involves legally serving them with the necessary court documents, giving them an opportunity to respond.
  • Genetic Testing (if contested): If the other parent disputes paternity, the court may order genetic testing to determine biological parentage. Results from these tests can be pivotal in resolving the paternity dispute.
  • Attend Court Hearings: Both parties are required to attend court hearings. As part of these proceedings, they present evidence, testify, and provide information to assist the court in making its decision.
  • Obtain a Paternity Order: If the court establishes paternity, it issues a paternity order. In addition to recognizing the relationship between parents and children, this legal document describes the rights and responsibilities of both parents and children, such as custody, visitation, and child support.

Navigating the legal process to establish paternity in California can be complex. The best interests of the child should be prioritized, so seeking the guidance of an experienced San Diego paternity attorney is advisable.

Get Help from San Diego Paternity Lawyers - Schedule Your Free Consultation

Paternity is a complex legal area, so it is important to work with an experienced attorney. At Family Law San Diego, our founding and principal attorney Garrison Klueck has been practicing law for more than 30 years.

Additionally, the firm has several highly experienced attorneys working at his firm who have extensive, in-depth knowledge of the San Diego area legal system. These divorce attorneys can guide people through each step of the way, including helping a father establish paternity in order to facilitate a child custody arrangement.

Contact our law office online or call (619) 577-4900 today to schedule a free consultation with a paternity lawyer in San Diego now.


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