Paternity Actions Lawyer in Riverside
Establishing Parents' Rights and Responsibilities in California
Paternity actions are taken to establish the biological father of a child
for a number of reasons. In the majority of cases, paternity actions are
taken to determine a man's responsibility to pay
child support. Sometimes paternity is sought by the man, who is trying to figure out
whether or not he is responsible for financially supporting the child.
Other times paternity is sought by the mother, who is in need of financial
assistance and support. If a paternity test proves that a man is the father
of a child, the court can order him to make child support payments. Likewise,
if the man is determined not to be the father of a child, he will no longer
be held responsible for providing support.
Paternity actions are also sought by men wishing to gain
child custody or
visitation rights. If a man can establish that he is the father of a child, he will
have a much better chance at obtaining visitation rights or custody of
the child. Paternity is a very serious matter that, once determined, will
permanently affect the lives of the parties involved. You can rely on our
Riverside family law attorneys to make sure all of the necessary paperwork is filled out correctly and
to help you properly file a paternity action.
Equitable Parenthood, Alleged Fathers & Presumed Fathers
When discussing paternity issues, there are a few key definitions that
must be defined. The first term is the
acknowledged father. When a woman becomes pregnant, there is a man who is acknowledged to
be the father of the child, either by admission or agreement between him
and the mother.
The second term is the
presumed father, who is sometimes the same as the acknowledged father. Unless this particular
man proves otherwise (by way of DNA test or other convincing evidence),
he will be presumed to be the father.
A man will be presumed the father of a child if:
- He was married to the mother at the time the child was conceived/born,
- He man married the woman after she found out she was pregnant,
- He agreed to have his name on the child's birth certificate,
- Or he acted in other ways as if the child was his own.
The man who is presumed to be the father will be responsible for paying
child support unless he can prove that he is not the child's actual
father. There is another role that a father or presumed father can take
on, and that is the title of "equitable parent." This person does not have to be a legal parent, nor do they have
to be the biological parent. An equitable parent may be granted custody
under these auspices if they have a close relationship with a child and
the other parent wishes to encourage this relationship. It will be more
difficult for an equitable father to gain legal custody or visitation
rights of a child, since there is no legal or biological bond.
What Does the Paternity Process Entail?
When a paternity action is filed, the father in question will be subjected
to DNA tests and blood tests. In California, this is usually only carried
out when a couple has had a child together but never married—as
it is assumed under the law that married spouses are both biological parents
to any children that were conceived during the scope of their marriage.
Once the DNA testing has been concluded, if it discovered that a man is
the biological father of an illegitimate child, the mother can then file
an order to retain child support. In turn, the father can also pursue
visitation rights and/or custody rights.
If you have any questions about filing a paternity action, you should not
hesitate to seek legal assistance. As either a mother or a father, you
have certain rights that can be upheld at the conclusion of this action.
Get in touch with a Riverside paternity lawyer to discuss your rights and options when facing a complex paternity issue.