Paternity disputes are common in California. Men often dispute paternity when they have reason to believe they may not be the child’s biological father. If you are questioning whether to challenge the paternity of your child, contact us for more information. Read on to learn more about how to dispute paternity in California.
How is Paternity Established in California
Paternity can be established in California as follows:
Signing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity
Both parents will be required to sign the voluntary declaration of paternity. By signing this declaration, people declare that they are the legal parents of the child. The declaration can be signed at the hospital after the child is born allowing for the father’s name to be placed on the birth certificate. The declaration can also be signed at a later date which would require the birth certificate to be revised. The form can be obtained by contacting one of the following sources:
- Local child support agency
- Registrar of births
- Family law facilitator
- Welfare office
Once the declaration is signed, the form must be filed with the California Department of Child Support Services Paternity Opportunity Program.
Obtain a Court Order of Paternity
In the alternative of signing a voluntary declaration, a person can also get a court order to establish paternity as well as an order for child support. Either parent can start a case to prove paternity. A parent seeking to prove paternity will need to file the following forms in the nearest court where the child resides:
- Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-200)
- Summons – Petition for Custody and Support (Form FL-210)
- Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (Form FL-105)
California Statute of Limitations for Paternity
A statute of limitation limits the legal right of a person to file a lawsuit after a specified period. In California, paternity can be established up to 3 years after a child’s 18th birthday. If a person is married when their child is born, and he/her has doubts about paternity, a court order for a blood test can be obtained within 2 years of the child’s birth.
The Paternity Disestablishment Bill of 2004
In 2004, California State Legislature passed the Paternity Disestablishment Bill of 2004. The bill expands the opportunity for the court to set aside/vacate a paternity judgment or voluntary declaration of paternity. The following types of cases can result in a judgment/declaration being set aside:
Paternity Declaration Cases
If a person signed a voluntary declaration of paternity as mentioned above, and later found out that he was not the biological father, he may want to file a motion to have the declaration set aside. There is a 2 year statute of limitation beginning as of the child’s birth to file the motion.
Paternity Default Judgments
If a paternity judgment was based on a default judgment, a parent can ask for it to be vacated or set aside. The time limitation to file a motion is within 2 years from the date the father should have known of the judgment of paternity.
A paternity judgment can be vacated or set aside upon motion under the condition that the previously established father was determined to be the legal father without genetic testing having been conducted.
If the court vacates or set aside a paternity judgment or declaration, the payor of child will be relieved from making any future child support payments and all past due arrears.
Forms to Dispute Paternity
The following forms must be completed and filed in order to dispute paternity:
- Request for Hearing and Application to Set Aside Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (FL – 280)
- Proof of Personal Service (FL – 330)
- Order After Hearing on Motion to Set Aside Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (FL – 290)
Using A Non-Attorney to Dispute Parentage
If you are looking for help on how to dispute paternity in California, we can help! At A People’s Choice, we can help you draft and file all the documents you need to prove paternity, or have a paternity judgment or declaration set aside/vacated. Contact us at 800-747-2780 for more information on how we can help you.