Los Angeles, CA Paternity Lawyer
A paternity case is used to determine the biological father of a minor when the parties were not married at the time of the child’s birth. A child’s parentage usually must be established before child support, child custody and parenting time orders can be obtained. Contact an experienced Los Angeles paternity attorney with any legal questions or concerns.
Paternity is an important matter that can involve complicated legal processes in Los Angeles. A paternity lawyer can help you establish parentage, dispute alleged parentage and take other steps to protect your rights as well as those of your child. From genetic testing to representing you during a paternity trial, the lawyers at Boyd Law can assist you with all matters related to legal parentage. Contact us today for a free paternity case consultation in LA.
Why Choose Boyd Law?
At Boyd Law, we provide individualized representation to clients for a wide range of paternity matters. Our attorneys will take the time to learn about your situation and provide honest advice regarding your options. We will guide you through the entire process, from DNA testing to establishing support, child visitation, custody and other parental rights. We represent clients seeking to establish or challenge paternity in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California.
Many people often assume incorrectly that the courts will always judge in favor of the mother when dealing with custody, visitation and other matters involving children. However, the courts focus is on the best interests of the child. Every case is determined based on its individual facts and circumstances. No matter how complex of a paternity case you are facing, our experienced paternity attorneys have the knowledge and skill required to assist you.
How Can a Los Angeles Paternity Attorney Help?
Hiring a lawyer can relieve you of many burdens that can weigh heavily on you during a paternity or parentage case. You can focus on yourself and your family while your lawyer handles complex legal issues on your behalf. A Los Angeles paternity attorney can explain California’s related laws and how establishing paternity can benefit you in your specific case. Then, your attorney can take over legal processes for you, such as setting up blood or DNA tests, drafting declaration of paternity forms, and representing you during a paternity trial, if necessary.
A lawyer will know exactly how to establish paternity or resolve your case in other appropriate ways based on the factors unique to your case. Your lawyer can help you fill out and submit a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage, for example, if you are unmarried, or challenge a declaration of parentage in court if you signed it involuntarily or due to fraud. If you have to go to court to establish parentage, an attorney can represent you before a judge. Your lawyer can walk you through the court process, including what to say and how to dress, for the best possible results.
It is also important to hire an attorney to make sure you meet California’s deadlines on matters related to paternity. The courts impose time limits on requests such as canceling a declaration of paternity. Missing your deadline may mean losing your chance to establish or argue paternity. A lawyer will know these deadlines and can work quickly and efficiently to help you meet them. Using a lawyer to meet California’s legal requirements and statutes of limitations can improve your chances of a satisfactory result.
Why Is Establishing Parentage Important?
Establishing parentage means obtaining a court order or signing an official Declaration of Paternity that says who the legal parents of a child are. For example, if the parents of a child were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born, the child does not have a legal father until parentage is established. So even if a father can prove he is the biological father of a child, if he was never married to the mother, he does not legally have any rights or responsibilities for the child. This means parentage must be established legally.
When a child is born out of wedlock or without the benefit of their parents being married, there are always issues regarding child custody, child visitation time, and child support. Determining whether someone has legal rights as a father to a minor child, as well as the protection of the rights of the mother and child, are often delicate situations.
The parentage statutes provide methods of establishing parentage for parents who were not married at the time of their child’s birth. The courts in California may also apply the common law of de facto parentage, which provides a means for someone who has fulfilled a parental role to a child (without a biological or adoptive relationship to the child) to establish a parental relationship. The de facto parentage laws may benefit same-sex couples because both members of a same-sex couple cannot be the biological parent of any children born to either of them, and the second person filling the parental role may not always establish a recognized legal relationship with the child through adoption.
Does Parentage Need To Be Established For Child Visitation & Support?
If you and the mother or father of your child are going through divorce or separation, you may need to establish parentage if you have not already done so before the courts can rule on child visitation, custody and support. If you were not married when the child was born, parentage is not assumed. Instead, you and the other person will need to establish parentage, either through voluntarily signing the correct forms or through other means, such as DNA tests.
Establishing parentage is critical for child visitation and support. Without establishing parentage, the other parent will have no legal ties to your child or obligations to you as a co-parent. The other parent will not owe you child support after separation, for instance, if the courts do not recognize him or her as the child’s parent. You will have no grounds on which to force the other parent to pay child support until you establish parentage. It is important for your child’s future and financial wellbeing, therefore, to establish parentage before dealing with a separation or divorce case in Los Angeles.
If you are the parent whose parentage is not established, you will need to do so to have any rights to custody or visitation with your child. Without establishing yourself legally as the child’s mother or father, you will not have a right to see your child post-separation or divorce. Once you establish parentage, however, the courts may grant you visitation and/or joint custody over your child. Your ex-spouse will not be able to keep you from seeing your child in this case. If he or she tries, you will have the power to take your ex to court to enforce a visitation order.
Establishing Parentage in California
Establishing parentage for a child is important. One reason is the child gets the emotional benefit of knowing who both of his or her parents are. And, another reason is it entitles the child to the same rights and privileges as those of a child whose parents are married. In the State of California these legal rights and privileges are:
- Financial support from both parents;
- Legal documentation identifying both parents;
- Having the names of both parents on the child’s birth certificate;
- Access to family medical records and history;
- Health and life insurance coverage from either parent;
- The right to inherit from either parent; and
- The right to receive social security and veteran’s benefits, if available.
If you are a man seeking visitation or custody rights to your child, or if you are a woman trying to secure child support payments, it may be essential to work through the legal paternity test process with the guidance of an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney. Custody and parenting time can be complicated matters and having an experienced counsel will help you achieve optimum results. Contact Boyd Law today at (310) 777-0231.