Matters of paternity are subject to a variety of circumstances. In California, a child’s paternity is dependent on the presumptive parents’ living circumstances at the time of conception, whether or not anyone has declared himself the father, and matters of genetics.
When a married couple that is living together conceives a child, California law presumes that the child was conceived by the husband. Unfortunately, the presumptions of the law do not always align with the circumstances of a person’s life. When a mother alleges that her husband is the father of her child but the putative father disagrees, the husband is entitled to verify paternity via a blood or saliva test. The putative father is also afforded the right to legal counsel before fatherhood is determined by the court.
If the mother and putative father are separated during the paternity proceedings then California law allows for temporary child support payments to be made until paternity is adjudged. This law is important to note because many labs will not test a child’s DNA to verify paternity until the child is at least six months old. If the DNA test results come back negative then the claimant is allowed to recover whatever monies were paid for child support.
Paternity can also be decided through a Declaration of Paternity. If a father signs a Declaration of Paternity then, typically, no genetic testing is ordered by the court. The form is usually signed at the hospital immediately after birth or when a mother takes legal action to determine her child’s paternity.
Paternity disputes are very serious and the guidance of a professional is strongly encouraged. If you are in the San Diego area and have questions related to paternity then please contact a San Diego paternity attorney to ensure that your inquiries are answered promptly, comprehensively, and professionally.