In California, establishing paternity is not as clear cut as someone unfamiliar with Family Law might think. It is completely possible for a person to be determined a child’s legal father in spite of DNA test that says other wise. There are various ways this can happen and do not necessarily mean that the father was cuckolded. Establishing paternity in a Family Law dispute is extremely important because it establishes the foundation for any legal action regarding child support, visitation or custody. A person has no parental rights and/or responsibility to a child without first laying this foundation and establishing legal parentage. Before this foundation can be set in legal stone, it is critical that a father (and in some cases a mother) knows his (or her) rights because little can be done once the court has designated paternity. Seeking out a knowledgeable paternity lawyer Chula Vista might be wise in a situation where parentage is not clear or is being disputed.
Like most other States, in California, when a married woman gives birth, her husband is assumed to be the father and paternity is automatically established. The process for establishing paternity when the mother is unwed is not as simple and can be accomplished via two routes: either a parent signs a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity or the court designates parentage with a Court Order.
Although a father is entitled to a DNA to confirm that he is the biological father before paternity is established, there are a number of factors that will make him the presumed father even without any DNA testing. As stated above, being married to the mother when the child is conceived will designate the husband as the child’s legal father. Additionally, a marriage certificate is not necessary to this designation since a wedding ceremony before the child conception can also designate a person as the child’s parent. Although biologic and legal parentage probably conform with each other in these cases, the following ways a person can be presumed to be a child’s parent involve cases where biologic and legal parentage probably do not conform with each other.
If a man marries a mother and either agrees to put his name on the birth certificate or agrees to support the child or openly treats the child as his own, then he can be designated as the child’s legal father. Although it might be the case that the husband is not the biological father, the court could rule that the man is the legal father of the child. This legal concept is called “parentage by estoppel.” This concept is typically invoked when it can be proven that a man treated a child as his own; thus, he is, for better or worse, extended the same rights and responsibilities of a biological father. Establishing paternity this way is not simple and seeking the help of a paternity lawyer Chula Vista would be wise.
Contrary to popular belief, DNA is not the only way parentage can be established. Marriage and treating a child as one’s own are only a few factors that the court might consider while determining paternity and this article should in no way be considered legal advice. Although paternity can be established automatically or voluntary with a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, modifying and disputing legal parentage is both difficult and complex. Seeking the advice of an experienced paternity lawyer Chula Vista is critical to any legal action pertaining to paternity.
Furthermore, seeking the legal advice competent attorney in a divorce and/or child custody dispute is important especially when paternity has not yet been established since once established or waived, little can be done to correct a misstep. Just as a building with a poor foundation will eventually collapse, without firmly establishing (or denying) parentage your case is doomed to fail. Don’t make any mistakes while laying the foundation of your case.
If you are currently involved with a custody dispute, it might be wise to seek out the advice of an experienced Family Law attorney that understands the obstacles that are often faced by a paternity lawyer Chula Vista. Attorney Brian Burkett has assisted individuals entangled in legal disputes for more the 10 years, and he is a competent paternity lawyer. If you think that you might need assistance establishing paternity, navigating divorce proceedings, or sorting out a custody dispute in San Diego, then please give us a call at (619) 250-2683 to schedule your free initial consultation with Attorney Brian Burkett or visit our Web Site at http://www.childcustodyanddivorce.com/ for more information