Family law attorney
Serving Fresno Since 1979
A legally confidential action where unmarried parties share a common child is a “paternity” action and is filed under the Uniform Parentage Act. This action will establish the parental rights of the parties, and make a determination that the mother and father are the natural parents of the child. A paternity action is a confidentially filed case, in which only the parties and/or their attorney of record may access the court file.
Simply being named on the birth certificate does not ensure paternity. In the event a father signs a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity at the time of the birth of the child, there is an automatic presumption that father is the natural father of the child. This Voluntary Declaration of Paternity is filed with the State of California, and is used with regard to child support issues in the event aid is sought for the benefit of the child.
If the parties do not agree that each is the parent of the child, a paternity test will be ordered in order to make a proper determination of parentage.
In the event a father signs a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, and later determines he is not the father of the child, the Voluntary Declaration of Paternity must be set aside within a specific time frame in order not be held out to be the father and financially responsible for child support for the child.
Paternity will also be determined through a child support action brought by the Department of Child Support Services (“DCSS”) on behalf of the child. In the event parentage is not agreed to, the Court will order paternity testing to determine and establish paternity in order to make an order for child support.
A request for the Court to make orders regarding child custody/visitation, and child support may be sought in a paternity action. Once paternity is agreed to, or established, and orders for child custody/visitation, and child support are made, these orders are set forth in a Judgment of Paternity.