Do I Really Have to Establish Paternity?

Helping You Protect Your Fathers' Rights in San Diego

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 to petition for child custody, visitation, or any other parental rights until you have proven that you are, in fact, the child’s father.

Steps to Take When Establishing Paternity

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). You can also do so by being present for the completion of the child’s birth certificate and other birth papers. If this is not possible, 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. You can also 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.

In some cases, establishing paternity can be a rocky, complex process. At the Law & Mediation Firm of Klueck & Hoppes, APC, we are the experts in family law and matters of child custody, and we know that fathers are not always given equal consideration when there are children involved. For help proving that you are the father of your child and to ensure you are treated fairly, call us at (619) 577-4900 or contact us to receive a confidential case evaluation today.