The parent-child relationship is one of the most meaningful relationships that a person can have, but becoming a parent does not always happen under traditional circumstances, and in some cases, a child’s paternity may be questioned. Establishing paternity is important not only for the parents of a child but also for the child, and it is wise for anyone involved in a paternity dispute to consult an attorney to discuss his or her available options. At Daprile-Bell Family Law Offices, our San Jose paternity lawyers are adept at helping people establish or disprove paternity, and if you engage our services, we will work diligently to help you protect your interests. We frequently represent people in Silicon Valley in paternity cases, including people who work for tech companies from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, and we take pride in assisting our clients with their legal needs.Establishing Paternity Under California Law
In California, there are essentially three ways in which paternity can be established. First, if a child is born to a woman married to a man, it is presumed that the man is the father of the woman’s child. In all other instances, a child’s paternity must be established for a man to be deemed the legal father of a child.
In cases in which paternity is not disputed, both parents can sign a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage to establish the paternity of the child. The Declaration can be signed at the hospital when the child is born, which will allow the father’s name to be added to the birth certificate. The Declaration can be signed at a later date as well, but when it is not signed in a hospital, the signing must be witnessed by a notary public or must take place at one of numerous specified public agencies. Our paternity attorneys can advise San Jose residents on how to meet these requirements.
After the Declaration is signed, it must be filed with the Department of Child Support Services. A signed Declaration of Parentage has the same legal effect as a court order establishing paternity. Thus, it is very difficult for a person who signed a Declaration of Parentage to later rescind the Declaration, unless certain factors are present. While a party can file a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage Rescission, it must be filed within 60 days of when the Declaration of Parentage was signed to be effective. After the 60-day period, a party seeking to rescind a Declaration must prove that good cause for seeking a rescission exists, such as a fraudulent inducement to sign the Declaration.
If paternity is disputed, either party can ask the local child support office to establish paternity, or they can file a petition to establish a parental relationship. In either scenario, genetic testing will typically be conducted, either by the Department of Child Support Services or pursuant to a court order, to determine if a man is the biological father of a child. Our San Jose paternity attorneys can help you pursue genetic testing. Based on the results of genetic testing, an order will typically be issued that states whether the man is the father of the child. Once paternity has been established, both parents have equal rights to seek child custody and child support.Contact a Dedicated Family Law Attorney
While often a child’s paternity is clear, in other instances, paternity is disputed, and legal action is required to establish parental rights and obligations. If you are faced with a dispute over the paternity of a child, the zealous attorneys at Daprile-Bell Family Law Offices can assess your case and advise you about your options for seeking your desired outcome. It is critical for us to maintain a safe environment at our San Jose office to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and therefore we regularly sanitize all common areas, wear masks, and provide seating on our front porch so that clients can wait for their appointments outdoors. The paternity lawyers at our San Jose firm are available to meet via Zoom for clients who do not want to meet in person, and we cautiously stagger all meetings that are conducted in our office. We can be reached at (408) 918-0920 or through the form online to schedule a consultation.