Establishing Parentage in Orange County
The need to establish parentage comes into play when two parents are not married to each other at the time the child is born. Proof that a man is the biological father of a child does not automatically grant him legal rights, or responsibilities regarding the child. A parentage judgment does not establish child custody or child support orders, it is simply a judgment that says who the child’s parents are.
Establishing parentage has numerous benefits for both parents and children, regardless of the age of the child.
In some cases, if a child is still a minor, establishing parentage allows the parents to request a child custody or visitation order, as well as a child support order from the court. A child has legal rights to financial support from both parents, which cannot be granted without establishing parentage. Legal parentage also allows a child to be covered under a parent’s health insurance, it allows access to family medical records, and it means that both parents’ names can be on the child’s birth certificate.
Even as an adult, having established parentage is important. Legal parentage allows a child to claim an inheritance or social security benefits, or to claim life insurance benefits. However, it is up to either the mother or the father, or the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS), to initiate the parentage proceedings.
How Do I Establish Parentage in Orange County?
The simplest way to establish parentage is to have the father sign a voluntary Declaration of Paternity around the time the child is born, and filing it with the California Department of Child Support Services Paternity Opportunity Program. Signing and correctly filing this form has the same effect as going to court and legally establishing parentage, and it allows both parents to sign the birth certificate.
Another way to establish parentage is to go through your local child support agency, which is part of the state Department of Child Support Services. If you choose this route, the DCSS will file a case for parentage and child support simultaneously, ordering genetic testing if necessary. It is important to remember while that the DCSS attorneys can give you information on your case, they do not represent either parent or the child and it is advised that you consult with a skilled Orange County parentage lawyer to work on your behalf.
It is also possible to go to court yourself and file your own case to establish parentage. However, keep in mind that the process is complex, and accurate, detailed instructions cannot be found online. Consult with a qualified Orange Angeles County parentage attorney if you choose to file a parentage case yourself.
Filing on your own requires you to acquire the paperwork from the court, fill it out accurately and completely, serve the other parent, and file forms with the court correctly. The legal system is complex; remember that a simple mistake can render your case invalid.
A Qualified Orange County Parentage Attorney on Your Side
The family lawyers at Yanez & Associates are here to help you establish parentage. Your child deserves the benefits that come with legally established parentage, and it is up to you to fight for his or her rights. Contact Yanez & Associates today to schedule your free initial consultation and discuss the specifics of your case.