Determining Paternity For Unmarried Parents

When an unmarried couple has a child, the man does not have any legal right to custody or visitation until paternity is established. A father who wants to be a part of his child's life or to be informed if his child is being given up for adoption by the birth mother, or a mother who wants to pursue court-ordered child support from the father of her child, must initiate a paternity action.

At the Law Office of Steven M. Bishop, CFLS, we have almost 40 years of experience dealing with parentage and paternity cases. We can help fathers take an active role in their child's life or mothers pursue child support from their child's father. As a Certified Specialist in Family Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization, Mr. Bishop is a committed advocate to helping you protect your rights.

What Goes Into Establishing Paternity In California?

Paternity is automatically established when legally married couples have children together. If they are unmarried when a child is born, paternity must be established legally.

Either party can file a paternity action:

  • Fathers can assert their rights: A man who believes himself to be the father of a child can establish parentage by signing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, or he can get a court order.
  • Mothers can seek child support: If a woman has a child with a man who is no longer in her life and is not supporting her or her child financially, she can file a paternity action to compel the father to pay child support.

If the other parent does not respond, paternity can be established by a default paternity action. If the other parent does respond and agrees he is the child's father, a hearing is scheduled to determine appropriate custody, visitation and child support orders.

DNA Testing To Establish Paternity

Genetic testing to establish paternity is usually conducted when one of the parties denies paternity. A DNA test examines the genetic material from the child and the mother and compares it to the genetic material from the alleged father. A DNA test result can establish paternity with 99 -percent accuracy, or it can scientifically exclude the possibility that the man is the father.

Paternity cases are always quite personal and emotionally challenging and have life-changing consequences for our clients. As your attorney, Mr. Bishop will have compassion and discretion in dealing with these issues. We will guide you and advise you at every turn to make sure that your interests are protected.

A Committed Advocate For You And Your Rights

These cases involve delicate issues. We will handle your case with the respect and dignity that your case deserves. We are not here to judge but rather to help you find the answers you need to move on. Call our San Diego office at 619-299-9780 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation today with an experienced paternity lawyer.