A determination of paternity is a vital aspect to ensure a variety of legal rights. As our Northern California family law lawyers know, a determination of paternity must be made before many parental rights decisions can be made, such as child custody orders, child visitation schedules, and child support orders. Paternity can be determined in several ways, dependent on the circumstances of the individual case.
Methods of Determining Paternity Without Genetic (DNA) Testing:
If the parents of a child are married, there is a presumption that the husband is the father of the child. However, there are circumstances where this presumption may not be applicable to the case, such as when the husband is not physically capable of reproducing.
When the parents of a child are unmarried, paternity can be established by executing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity or by filing a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship. A Voluntary Declaration of Paternity is document stating by both the mother and the father that they both believe the father is the child's biological father. By signing this form both parents are consenting to paternity being legally established. However, this can be changed by formal court judgment or genetic (DNA) testing at a later date. The Petition to Establish Parental Relationship is a court determination of the biological father of the child.
Determining Paternity With Genetic (DNA) Testing:
In the instance of parties disagreeing as to biological paternity in a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship, the court can order a genetic (DNA) test. Such a test can also be conducted in other instances upon request of the father if he believes he may not be the biological father.
DNA is biological material that determines a person's physical appearance. It is inherited in part from the mother and in part from the father to create a unique DNA for each person. Parental relationships can be established by comparing the DNA of the mother, father, and child. Almost all cells contain DNA, including saliva, thus a genetic (DNA) test can be done by rubbing a sterile cotton swab inside the mouth of all three parties.
The test can be performed in many locations. The Department of Child Support Services can perform the test and it is usually free of charge. If the test is court ordered there may be fees of up to several hundred dollars and they may specify where to have the test done as many private testing services may not be allowed. As the requirements are so specific, in our area it would be beneficial to contact a Santa Rosa paternity attorney.
Getting Legal Help in Northern California:
Beck Law P.C. can help guide you through the legal system if you are facing a paternity dispute. Our legal professionals are well versed in the intricacies of all paternity issues, including establishing paternity and contesting paternity. For a free consultation regarding the specifics of your case and any questions regarding California paternity law contact us at 707-576-7175 or contact us online. Do not delay in seeking help.
See Related Blog Posts:
The Importance of Establishing Paternity
California Paternity Law Attorney