Paternity actions or parentage cases are used to determine who a child’s legal parents are. If the child’s parents are married, there is no question from a legal standpoint who the child’s father may be. The law will assume that the married couple is the child’s legal parents in most cases.
Paternity actions in Irvine, Orange County can become more complicated for an unmarried couple. In fact, there are situations where a child may even have more than two legal parents. Having an Irvine family law attorney to help you through the process can be an invaluable resource.
Importance of Establishing Paternity
The fact that someone’s name appears on the child’s birth certificate does not automatically establish paternity in California. This is because the mother lists whom she believes is the father or who may want to be considered the father; the child’s father is not required to sign the birth certificate in California.
Establishing paternity is important for a variety of reasons, including:
- Gaining financial support from the father
- Determining custody and visitation rights
- Emotional and psychological benefits for the child of knowing who his or her father is
- Creating the right to inherit property or assets
- Access personal information regarding health risks of the paternal family
- Establishing the right to sue if the father is harmed or passes away due to someone else’s fault
- Receiving workers’ compensation benefits if the father dies at work
- Receiving benefits based on dependent-based governmental assistance
The financial benefits are usually enough for the mother to want to establish paternity, but children can benefit in other ways by establishing paternity as well.
Using a Family Law Attorney in Irvine for Paternity Actions
Establishing paternity usually involves asking the father and child to succumb to a DNA test. The DNA testing involved is close to 100 percent accurate, so it is easy for families to determine who the father is definitively.
The accuracy of the test helps avoid many of the emotionally charged conflicts that can arise in paternity actions. However, that does not mean that Irvine, Orange County paternity actions are not challenging in some circumstances. Potential fathers may attempt to dodge taking the test or flat out refuse. In those situations, it is a good idea to involve a family law attorney and the court. Even voluntary paternity actions require specific forms and that certain legal obligations be met.
The Law Office of Craig A. Darling can help you deal with any paternity issues you may have. Call (949) 222-5522 to schedule an appointment.