There are several benefits of establishing paternity for mothers and fathers. From developing father-child relationships, to obtaining child support, establishing paternity can greatly benefit parents and children. Read on to learn more.
What Does It Mean to Establish Paternity?
Our clients often ask us “What does it mean to establish paternity?” Establishing paternity means that a man has been found to be the biological father of a child. When a married couple has a child, under California law, the husband is presumed to be the biological father. If a couple is unwed when their child is born, or a single person has a child, paternity will have to be established in order for the biological father to have any parental rights over the child. The couple can sign a voluntary Declaration of Paternity in order to establish paternity. Alternatively, if a mother objects to paternity, a father can file a petition to establish paternity with his local child support agency or court.
Why A Father Would Want to Establish Paternity
There are several benefits of establishing paternity for a father. As mentioned above, paternity means the state of being someone’s father. It enables a biological father to have parental rights over his child. Establishing paternity enables a father to exercise the following rights over his child as a parent:
- A father-child relationship can be developed.
- The father’s child will be entitled to health insurance, social security, pensions, child support and veterans’ benefits.
- The child will have a right to inherit the father’s estate upon his passing.
- The child will be able to know his/her medical background.
- The child will have a sense of identity and belonging as the father-child relationship develops.
If you are a father that would like to establish paternity in California, contact us for help.
Why A Mother Would Want to Establish Paternity
For a mother, there are also several benefits of establishing paternity. For example, a mother may want to establish paternity to request an order for child support and/or child custody and visitation. In California, a mother cannot get an order for child support if a man has not been proven to be the biological father of a child.
Can A Father Ask to Establish Paternity Even If Mother Objects?
Yes, a father can establish paternity even if a mother objects. Under California law, a father can contact his local child support agency and request that they bring an action to establish parentage of his child. As part of this action, a child support order will be requested as well. In addition, a father can file his own petition to establish paternity with the local court. The petition must be filed in the county where the child lives. The father will have to complete the following forms in order to establish paternity and obtain visitation and custody orders:
- Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-200)
- Summons (Form FL-210)
- Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Form FL – 105)
- Child Custody and Visitation Application Attachment (Form FL 311)
Once these forms are completed, they will need to be filed with the appropriate court and served on the child’s mother by a registered process server or person over age of 18. The registered process server (or other person who served the papers) will need to complete and sign a Proof of Service Summons (Form FL 115) that will need to be filed with the court as well.
Who Pays For Genetic Testing in Paternity Cases?
One of the benefits of establishing paternity through the court is that the process requires the parties to participate in genetic testing. As for who pays for the genetic testing, if the father requested for his local child support agency to bring an action to establish parentage and child support on his behalf, the agency will pay for the genetic testing. In the event the father files his own petition requesting to establish paternity with the local court, each party will be responsible for paying their share (1/2) of the court costs.
The Benefits of Using a Non-Attorney to Establish Paternity
There are several benefits of using an non-attorney, professional legal document assistant to help you establish paternity. Doing so can help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in attorney fees. We have helped thousands of mothers and fathers in California establish paternity without the aid of an attorney. Our legal document assistance preparers can draft and file your documents with the local court. Contact us for more information.