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Paternity Matters

In the case of a separation of a married couple or the dissolution of a domestic partnership, a situation could arise where the father figure of the children born within the marriage or domestic partnership may question the paternity of one or more children. In the state of California, the law makes the assumption that the husband and wife, or the domestic partners in a relationship, are, in fact, the parents of the children born within the marriage or domestic partnership. However, this could be denied by the husband or one of the domestic partners. For parents who were not married nor in a legal domestic partnership, paternity is not established legally from the start, unless the name of the father appears on the child’s birth certificate and it was signed by him. Questioning paternity in either situation is serious, and it is imperative that this be handled with the aid of an attorney, for both parties involved.

In California, there are two main options to choose from when establishing paternity. The first is to have the father sign a voluntary declaration of paternity. This is exactly what it implies; both parties have voluntarily signed the declaration, and so have declared that they both are the parents of said children. For further information, you can follow this link:

http://www.courts.ca.gov/1201.htm#acc11294

The other main option is DNA testing. If requested by either party, the father must submit to a DNA test. This is done through a court of law. It is important to note, that even if the results are positive that the said person is the father, it can still be denied by the father. In this case, you must go back to court. The judge will take all evidence and the DNA test into consideration prior to making a ruling on paternity.

Establishing paternity is important when dealing with issues of child support, child custody and visitation, and concerns of the children’s healthcare plan.

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