Despite modern technology and the advancement in genetics, establishing legal paternity is still a huge hurdle that fathers, mothers, and children navigate daily. A father’s name on a child’s birth certificate does not always have a legal impact, as it does not automatically establish paternity. Although there is fast and inexpensive DNA testing, these simple tests also do not automatically declare paternity. Instead, a series of legal matters must be faced for a child’s paternity to be officially recognized by the state.
An experienced paternity lawyer in Palm Springs, CA can help you handle these matters, whether you are a man questioning if you are the biological father of your child, a mother questioning if the man you claimed is the father is the biological father, or a child questioning who your biological father may be.
Establishing paternity begins with a DNA test. You are given the right to take a DNA test if you believe you may be a child’s biological father. You can file a petition with the court if the test results come back positive. Once the court recognizes you as the biological father, you will be given the right to have a relationship with your child.
Depending on the circumstances of the child’s birth, such as if the child was born out of wedlock, proving paternity would grant the biological father rights over the child and even prevent the mother from putting the child up for adoption. The father will also hold financial responsibility over his biological child. This responsibility could involve child support being paid to support the child. If this is the case, this would be another arrangement that would have to be sorted out in court.
In addition to financial responsibility, the biological father may even gain custody or visitation rights over his child.
As with a divorce case, if you have proven paternity and are hoping to be granted custody over your child, it is important to know how the court decides the custody arrangement.
Legal custody and physical custody are the two types of parental custody that the court assigns. Parents can decide to share joint custody, or one parent may be given sole custody.
Legal custody means that both parents are responsible for making decisions regarding their children. Some of these decisions could regard where the child attends school, the doctor they will go to, whether they will be involved in any extracurriculars, if and where they will practice religion, and other welfare-related decisions.
Physical custody determines where the child will live. In most cases, sole physical custody is given to one parent, but the other parent is often given visitation rights. This could include weekends, holidays, or specific days of the week. Sometimes parents may even agree on which holidays their children will spend with them. These agreements can help make things fair and more cohesive for the child.
Some of the most common factors that are considered when determining custody are the following:
The California legal system prioritizes what is most appropriate for the children in every case and will not discriminate against fathers when determining custody. If you are a father who feels you have been treated unfairly by the court, our team of Palm Springs paternity lawyers honor your father’s rights and will fight for any father who feels they have been discriminated against.
The court will decide how much money you are to pay in child support based on a series of strict guidelines, including your monthly income and how much time you spend with the child if you are a father who has just been granted paternity.
Our law firm can also help you if you are a mother who is suing the biological father for neglecting to pay child support. We can help you initiate several compelling measures to get the financial support you and your child rightfully deserve. Some of these initiatives could include removing joint custody if joint custody has been given, liens on bank accounts and property, withholding of wages, and calls to court.
You may be entitled to several benefits if you are the child who has just established the identity of your biological father, including:
When it comes to your children, the California court system has laws in place to ensure their interests are always at the forefront of every case. However, the reality is that the court cannot truly get to know you or your children before making these life-changing decisions. Family lawyers spend time with you and your family. We will get to know you on a personal level instead of grouping you into a mold of all the other paternity cases we handle. We understand there is no one-size-fits-all equation for every case, and we will always do everything we can to honor that when working with you and your family.
By trusting our team at the Law Offices of Athina K. Powers, you receive the benefits of relying on a team with decades of experience working in family law. We assure you that we will do everything we can to help you through one of the most difficult points of your life as smoothly as possible. Contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney.