COVID19 ACCOMODATIONS: SAME-DAY APPOINTMENTS BY PHONE OR VIDEO CHAT!

Joshua Tree Paternity Lawyer

In cases where both biological parents are in a relationship, assumed paternity is with the person in the relationship. However, paternity may still need to be established in these cases and especially in cases where the parents are not in a relationship. Successfully raising a child with another person does not always need to involve a relationship between the parents, but each adult does need to have a relationship with the child.

For the paternal parent, the first step in creating this relationship is to establish paternity or biological fatherhood. Being listed on the birth certificate is not enough to establish paternity, as the mother could list anyone they believe to be the father on this document. Conceptually, it may seem simple to verify parenthood with fast and accurate DNA testing. However, there are legal aspects that can complicate the process.

Handling Paternity Cases in Joshua Tree, CA

Family law matters can include a wide range of cases, including divorce, adoption, and even protection orders in domestic violence situations. Paternity cases are a less common type of family law and can have dramatic effects on the child’s life. For these reasons, it is important to speak with a paternity lawyer instead of a wider-reaching family law attorney.

In the Joshua Tree, California area, the Law Offices of Athina K. Powers should be at the top of your consideration list for paternity lawyers. We have a long history of helping men who acknowledge their paternity, who are questioning paternity, and even men who believe they were wrongly identified as a biological parent. We also assist mothers who wish to establish paternity and those who are unsure of their child’s biological father. With over three decades of experience, we can be a rock in your corner while helping you navigate the finer aspects of paternity law.

Establishing Paternity in California

There are two possible routes for establishing paternity in California: through a voluntary declaration of paternity or a court order. If the declaration of paternity is a document signed by both parents at the hospital following the birth of the child, the father’s name will appear on the birth certificate. The declaration of paternity can be signed at a later date, but a new birth certificate will need to be issued to include the father’s name.

Reasons to Establish Paternity

There are multiple reasons to establish paternity. The reasons are beneficial for both the mother and father, but the child will benefit the most from establishing paternity. The more loving adults a child has in their corner, the more they will benefit both socially and emotionally. Other reasons to establish paternity include:
  • Medical history. There is a long list of medical conditions that can be passed down through a genetic line. Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are examples of genetic diseases that may not show symptoms until later in life. Establishing paternity and providing your child with both parents’ medical histories can allow for early screening and potentially preventing or better managing illnesses before they become debilitating.
  • Financial assistance. Child support is designed to assist in providing for the child and meeting their needs. Establishing paternity also enables the father to share the benefits of life insurance, social security, retirement, and other assets they can inherit. Both parents are responsible for providing for the child, but paternity must be first established before the courts can designate any financial support.
  • Custody and visitation rights. Typically, courts cannot legally grant visitation or custody rights without established paternity. This is especially important for unmarried parents or parents going through a separation. Multiple studies have shown that having a close relationship with their father can result in social and emotional benefits for the child.
When considering taking the steps to establish paternity, the child must always be considered first. If you have questions about establishing paternity and whether it is right for your child, the Law Offices of Athina K. Powers can assist in clearing your confusion.

Paternity Court Action

In the past, defenses against paternity could include being out of state, being sterile, or being impotent. The paternity case could also be thrown out if the defendant could prove the mother had sexual relations with multiple men around the time of conception. Today, these cases are decided definitively with DNA testing.

DNA testing is conclusive in determining paternity, but certain conditions must be met before a presumptive father can be forced to undergo the testing through a court-ordered declaration of paternity. If the man refuses to participate in DNA testing, the court can hold the man in contempt of court. Only someone with standing in the paternity case can bring a paternity action against the presumed father. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • The child’s mother
  • The child, if 12 years or older
  • A child support agency
  • A licensed adoption agency

The man believing themselves to be the father can also request DNA testing to establish paternity. This option is vital if the man is not married to the mother or if the mother is married to another person. After the person with standing files the paternity order, the DNA testing to establish paternity is then completed. The court then issues the order establishing custody, parenting time, and any financial support.

Why Is a Paternity Lawyer Needed?

California laws are constantly changing, and paternity laws are no exception. Family court proceedings can cause overwhelming feelings that make handling a case difficult, especially when fluctuating laws are factored in. A reliable lawyer can assist with this process and protect your rights. They can also help:
  • Enforce an existing child support order
  • Maintain your rights for future custody arrangements and child visitation
  • Enforce your right to receive medical insurance and other benefits
  • Collect back child support

The Family Law Offices of Athina K. Powers: Your Paternity Lawyers

The Law Offices of Athina K. Powers are experienced with California paternity laws, and our staff is dedicated to ensuring the best outcomes for both you and the child involved. Whether you’re the mother trying to establish paternity, the father trying to establish paternity, or a man defending himself against a false claim of paternity, our staff has the experience to help you with your case. Contact us today so we can discuss your case and your options.