When two unmarried parents are fighting over custody and support, it is important to file a parentage case. The goal here is to legally identify the parents and to establish custody and support orders. Demonstrating paternity is crucial in many family law matters because these cases open the door for a custody award and support orders.
If you are in this situation, it is imperative that you get access to the Courts immediately. If you need help filing this type of case or if you are involved in a dispute where your child’s parentage is in question, you should contact me. I am an Agoura Hills paternity lawyer. Our knowledgeable family law attorneys could address any questions or concerns you may have about establishing or disputing paternity.
When a child is born and the parents are married at the time of the birth, the law automatically assumes paternity. However, issues can arise when a child is born to unmarried parents. In situations such as these, one party can sign a voluntary declaration of parentage. Alternatively, if one party contests paternity, a judge can order DNA testing to establish the child’s parentage.
There are several reasons why someone may want to file this type of case when the identity of a child’s father is not legally confirmed. An alleged father of a child does not have any parental rights until paternity is proven. If a child’s paternity is shown, whether, through a voluntary declaration or a court order, the father can seek custodial or visitation rights.
Similarly, a parent filing this type of lawsuit can do so to establish child support rights. Once a court proves paternity, the child qualifies to receive benefits such as insurance and other forms of financial support from both parents.
There are two primary methods to demonstrate a child’s parentage. The first is to complete a voluntary declaration of parentage document. Assuming the voluntary declaration of parentage was not completed under deceit or duress, it will suffice to demonstrate the child’s paternity.
However, when the parentage of the child is in question, it may be necessary to file suit. Either a mother or a father can pursue a paternity case to seek child support or custodial rights. Alternatively, a father also may file this type of lawsuit if they wish to dispute their alleged paternity. A child who is at least 12 years of age also may be eligible to request this type of legal action from the court. I am an Agoura Hills attorney and I help you with your parentage case.
Once filed, the court will hold a hearing to assess the facts of the case and decide if it should proceed to litigation. If the child’s paternity is in dispute, the judge may order one or both parents to undergo DNA testing.
Cases that work to confirm the identity of a child’s father can emotionally and legally complex. You do not have to go through this process alone. If you are involved in a situation where parentage of your child is in question, contact one of our Agoura Hills paternity lawyers. Our team could provide continuous legal support at all stages of a paternity action. Call now to schedule your case consultation with a legal professional from our firm.