Parentage Cases in Los Angeles County and Orange County
Establishing parentage in California involves a strict legal process. This process is used to establish a child’s legal parents for custody and support purposes. If unmarried parties have a child, they will need to obtain a Judgment of Parentage in order to request child custody and visitation or child support.
Both biological and adoptive parents have a legal right to seek custody and visitation of their children regardless of marital status. Under California law, parents have a fundamental right to have custody, care, and companionship with their child and in turn the child has a right to continue a stable relationship with both parents.
Under California law, married parents are automatically considered the biological parents if the child is born during that marriage. If a child is born to parents who are registered domestic partners after Jan. 1, 2005, the law will assume they are both legally the child’s parents.
Entering a Judgment of Parentage (Paternity)
Sometimes parentage isn’t established but needs to be. Law enforcement and courts will first look to a child’s birth certificate to determine parentage. Often, both parents are listed on a child’s birth certificate. If a child is born to a single mother, however, she may be the only parent listed. In that case, if the biological father wants to be involved in the child’s life, or the biological mother needs child support, the moving party will need to file a Petition to Establish Parentage. If the biological father does not wish to contest parentage, he may sign a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (Paternity). If the biological father does not want to be involved in the matter, or does not believe he is the biological father, the court may order the alleged father to submit to a DNA test. Based on the result of the test, the court may enter a Judgment of Parentage (Paternity) against the alleged father.
Once the parents have a Judgment of Parentage, either parent may request child support or child custody and visitation orders from the family court.
Reasons why parentage may be necessary:
- Financial support for the child;
- Legal and physical custody;
- Visitation rights;
- Add both parent’s names on child’s birth certificate;
- Knowledge and access family medical history;
- Access to potential health and life insurance coverage;
- Legal documentation that verifies parentage;
- Access to any government benefits the established parent may receive;
- Right to inherit from both parents;
- Rights to social security and veteran’s benefits where applicable; and
- The right to emotional support from the established parent.
Resolving Parentage Matters
If you need help resolving parentage matters in Los Angeles County and Orange County, Johnson Attorneys Group is happy to help you and your family. Contact our Newport Beach and Los Angeles family law attorneys for help in parentage matters, child custody/visitation matters, and all your family law needs at (949) 942-8784.