"Establishing parentage" means saying who the legal parents of a child are if the parents were not married when the child was born.
If the parents were married when the child was born, the law usually considers the husband to be the father.
After January 1, 2005, if parents are registered domestic partners in Orange County when a child is born, the law assumes that the domestic partners are parents. However, since this law is new and unsettled, same sex parents residing in Orange County, California should get legal advice to make sure that the parentage is clear.
Parents who are not married when a child is born can sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity before they leave the hospital, or after. When people who are not married can't agree about parentage, the court can order genetic testing.
Usually a child's parentage must be established before you can get child support or custody and visitation orders. You can ask the judge for child support or custody and visitation as part of a case that establishes the parentage of a child.
NOTE: If a person is established as a legal parent of a child, that person MUST support the child. It's a crime for a legal parent to fail to support his or her child. A legal parent also has the right to get custody and/or visitation rights related to the child.
For assistance from a quality Orange County Custody Attorney who is certified as a family law specialist call 714-971-8000.