When children are born to couples who are not married or in a domestic partnership, the issue of paternity or parental relations may arise.
There are two ways to establish paternity or parentage: voluntarily sign a Declaration of Paternity/Parentage when the child is born or obtaining a court order.
Determining parentage is necessary for parents to establish legal rights, custody rights, and child support. If it becomes necessary to obtain court orders to establish or enforce any of these, parents must have a Judgment of Paternity.
Declaration of Paternity or Parentage
For married couples, when a child is born during the union family law presumes that both individuals have parental rights. In the case of non-married couples, a voluntary declaration of parentage can be signed and witnessed, and entered into a state database.
Going to Court to Establish Paternity
Either parent can initiate a case to establish parentage. The first step is to file a “Petition to Establish Parental Relations”. This Petition can include other requests such as custody, visitation, and support. After the Petition is filed with the court, it is served on the other parent. That parent has 30 days to respond. That parent can admit to being the child’s parent and agree to any other requests or can deny being the child’s parent and disagree with any other requests. If there is an agreement, the parents can put that agreement in writing and submit it to the court without having to appear before a judge. If the parents cannot agree, a hearing will be scheduled.
Consultation with a Family Law Expert
At Viola Law, we can help you throughout the process, whether it’s establishing paternity or establishing your parental rights. This can be a complicated and emotional process, but be assured you’ll have us by your side every step of the way.
Your first step is to call us. Starting with an initial conversation, we’ll gather information about your situation. We will schedule a meeting at our office. Then, we will determine and advise on how best to proceed. And, as your legal representative, we always keep your information private and confidential.
Viola Law for Establishing Paternity & Parental Rights
Viola Law has a reputation for personalized service. Sensitive to our clients’ needs, we’ve helped thousands of families in San Mateo County and the surrounding Bay Area counties for over 28 years. We will guide you through all aspects of divorce, child custody, and visitation agreements. We have experienced family law attorneys available including a mediator and private judge.
Have more questions about paternity and parental rights? Check out our Paternity or Parental Relations Q&A.
Photo credit: Andres Nieto Porras