How Do I Get a Paternity Test in Riverside, California?

05Aug, 22

There are several reasons why a parent or parents would want to determine the paternity of a child. California laws for establishing a biological and legal father include a number of steps regarding a paternity test. The process is complicated, and you should contact a Riverside, California family law attorney to help ensure the process is completed correctly and with as little stress as possible. Paternity can be determined by parents or by the courts.

A child’s legal father has a responsibility to support his child, and he has the right to spend time with his child. Before custody or visitation are court-ordered in California, paternity has to be legally established.

How to Determine Paternity

After contacting an attorney, you file a petition, which alerts the potential father to respond to the filing. The person who submits the petition must legally explain the reasons for this action. These facts and statements include the child’s information, a citation of California paternity statute, the relationship between the parties and child, if the mother was married at the time of birth, and any pending custody actions around the child, among others.

Once those are determined, the court orders a pretrial hearing. This includes an evaluation, as well as deciding if a trial is needed. Then, if the court’s decision regarding the trial is not accepted by one of the parties, a genetic test is required. This includes the mother, the child, and the alleged father. If this recommendation is refused by either potential parent, the case moves to trial.

These cases go the best when done as soon as possible after the baby is born, for the benefit of everyone involved. It’s especially for the best interests of the baby. Paternity cases take time to work through various stages of testing and court orders, and specific situations can further complicate this.

If a baby hasn’t been born yet, and you want to establish paternity, prenatal tests can be done after eight weeks. It can also be proved through blood or DNA tests.

Why a Paternity Test Is Necessary in California

Parents who want to prove paternity usually want to do so to provide or receive financial support and allow them custody, time, or access to their children. There are numerous other reasons and advantages parents might want to determine the paternity of a child or children, including:

  • Obtaining legal documents for identifying parenting rights
  • Learning medical records history of a child’s biological father
  • Ascertaining the legal right to inherit from either parent
  • Being able to put both parents’ names on the birth certificate
  • Gaining health and life insurance coverage from both parents
  • Obtaining the ability to sign documents on behalf of a child
  • Gaining social security or veteran’s benefits

It’s also a way for children to have more stability in their future and create a solid foundation for the adults who care for their children.

Ways to Establish Paternity

The court assumes that when the parents were married at the time of the baby’s birth, the husband is the father. This can only be contested in the first two years. A man who impregnates a married woman can ask for a paternity test to establish parentage and must do so before those two years. Oftentimes, the court will rule in favor of a stable marriage. If the husband wants to test paternity, he can do so at any point.

If the parents were not married at the time of the baby’s birth, circumstances regarding paternity often become more complicated. If the man has shown responsibility and commitment in a family-like situation, he is assumed to be the father. Otherwise, a paternity test is needed to ascertain his parentage. This must be filed to allow potential court orders for support, visitation, or custody. A child’s biological father has responsibilities and rights to that child regardless of the relationship between the mother and father.

In California, there are two ways to determine parentage.

  1. Signing a “Voluntary Declaration of Paternity” Form This option is best when parents agree on the paternity of their child. A “Voluntary Declaration of Paternity” form can be requested, which is voluntary and requires both parents’ consent. It can either be obtained in court or at the hospital. The form declares an agreement between the parents that they are the parents, and the man is the biological father. This form prevents the father from claiming he isn’t the father, and it also prevents both parents from legal proceedings to establish paternity. These include requesting DNA testing, being notified of a parentage hearing, having an attorney to represent you, and having the right to present your case or witnesses.
  2. Establishing Through the Court This can be done by both or either parent. They can begin a court case to determine the paternity of the other parent, which takes much longer and is more complicated than signing the form. This situation can be made easier with a qualified family lawyer with experience in paternity cases. The submission for a paternity order in court can be submitted by the child’s mother or mother of the unborn child, the man who believes he is the father of the child or unborn child, an adoption agency, a child support agency, or the child if they are older than twelve.

Following this is the process of determining if a trial is needed and if a genetic paternity test is recommended. If the potential father doesn’t cooperate, this may be considered evidence of parentage.

Why Paternity Needs to Be Determined

Proving the parentage of a child allows the court to order various things. This includes child support, health insurance, physical and legal custody, visitation, and payment of the court and genetic testing costs.

Contacting a Family Attorney in Riverside, California

It’s advised that paternity is determined once a child is born, but that isn’t always possible for all circumstances. If you’re in a situation where you are trying to prove paternity in a court of law, you should consult an attorney to assist you on the way. At the Law Offices of Michelanne Hrubic, we can help guide you through the complicated and serious process of determining paternity.

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