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It’s hard to hear the word “paternity” without thinking of crude afternoon talk shows — the kind where men are asked to take DNA tests and the surprise results are read on live television. But here in California, establishing paternity is not a form of entertainment. Rather, it is an important legal process, the results of which will significantly affect dads, moms and kids.
When a child is born to married parents who both signed the birth certificate, there likely won’t be any disputes over who the child’s legal parents are. When a baby is born outside of marriage, however, the man’s legal status as the father is not automatic. Even if there is proof of a biological relationship, the father may need to file a paternity action in order to gain parental rights.
Here are just three of the many reasons why it is important for men and women to establish the paternity of their children:
- Fathers cannot seek custody or visitation rights until or unless they have legally established paternity
- Fathers who have not obtained a custody/visitation order (after establishing paternity) have no legal recourse if the mother of their children suddenly decides to withhold access to the kids
- Mothers cannot seek child support from the fathers of their children until paternity has been established
Same-sex marriage is now legal nationwide, and California recognized domestic partnerships for years before the status of gay marriage was finally settled. Because of the conception issues inherent in same-sex relationships, it is crucial for both spouses or partners to establish legal parentage of their children (regardless of biological ties to the kids). Unless parental status is legally established, couples that end a same-sex relationship could experience custody and child support problems.
Attorney Sina Mohajer offers free initial consultations for those seeking help with a family law case or any number of other legal issues. To find out how Mohajer Law Firm, APC can help you, please call our Arcadia office at 626-999-3785 or fill out our online contact form.