Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, and Board of Legal Specialization

Paternity issues can cause stress and concern for everyone involved. Fathers may be upset that they are denied parenting time with their child, while mothers might be angry that the father refuses to acknowledge his child.

Whatever side of the paternity conflict you are on, a compassionate Simi Valley paternity lawyer could help you. Our seasoned family law attorneys understand the laws governing paternity cases and could work to establish the appropriate parent-child relationship.

Legal Presumptions in Simi Valley Paternity Proceedings

When considering paternity, under California Family Code §7611, several presumptions can be used to either establish or refute it, including:

  • When a child is born to a married couple in this state, the husband is presumed the child’s legal father as long as he was fertile at the time of conception
  • A child born within 300 days after a divorce is considered the couple’s legal child
  • A presumption of parentage also arises if the child’s mother and the presumed father attempted to marry before the child’s birth
  • If the marriage occurred after the child was born, the presumption still arises if the couple puts the presumed father’s name on the child’s birth certificate
  • If the man publicly acknowledges the child as his own, he is presumed to be the legal father

When none of these circumstances apply, a man who believes he is the child’s father must formally request a paternity determination from the court with the help of a knowledgeable attorney.

Why is Determining Paternity Important?

As stated, if parents are not married when a child is born in this state, the man is not presumed the child’s legal father. Practically, this means that the child does not have a legal father. While the law does not require a paternity establishment in most cases, there are many benefits for the parents and the child, including:

  • Both parent’s names appearing on the child’s birth certificate
  • The child’s access to family history and medical records
  • The child’s right to the father’s social security and disability benefits
  • A mother’s right to seek child support
  • The father’s right to custody and visitation
  • Either parent’s right to place the child on their health insurance

Additionally, the child’s right to love and support from both of their parents cannot be understated. Without establishing paternity, a child may not enjoy the same benefits as a child born to a married couple. A parent wanting to learn more about the importance of a paternity establishment can consult a motivated lawyer in Simi Valley.

How Simi Valley Parents Legally Establish Paternity

The most straightforward way of establishing paternity is for both parents to sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity acknowledging that they are the child’s legal parents. When parents disagree on parentage, one or both must file a paternity action in Simi Valley family court. A child over age 12 may also seek a paternity determination.

A parent seeking to establish paternity must file a court petition and give notice to the other party. After that party has had an opportunity to respond, the court will schedule a paternity hearing if the parties still cannot agree. A judge can order DNA testing for the mother, father, and child as part of the legal process. Under certain circumstances, a man not initially identified in the paternity lawsuit may intervene in the case if he believes he is the father.

Contested paternity actions can be legally and emotionally complex, so consulting a practiced attorney with experience in this area of family law is an excellent step to ensure that the case proceeds as smoothly as possible.

Learn More from a Skilled Simi Valley Paternity Attorney

As a parent, nothing is more important to you than your child. In matters involving your legal right to care for them, you do not want to risk any misstep that might jeopardize that right.

If you need to establish paternity, work with a Simi Valley paternity lawyer. Our firm’s compassionate attorneys are dedicated to representing your interests and prioritizing your child’s needs. Reach out today to discuss your case.

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