Often time parents are unmarried at the time of conception or birth of a child. Because of this the parties must open a paternity case in the appropriate court in order to establish paternal rights. Because paternity cases can be complex it might be in your best interest to consult an experiences family law attorney.
California Family Code section 7570
California Family Code section 7570 states “there is a compelling state interest in establishing paternity for all children.” This is because “establishing paternity is the first step toward a child support award.” Paternity is also used as the basis for child custody and visitation orders. Conclusive determination of the father and mother of a child can be beneficial for the purpose of: medical diagnosis, health insurance, social security, military benefits, and inheritance rights. Lastly, the code states, “knowing one’s father is important to a child’s development.” Family court judges have these interests in mind, when determining their ruling.
Procedure For Voluntary Paternity
California has established a procedure for establishing voluntary paternity, which has helped to ease the process of establishing paternity, as well as increase paternity establishment. Increased paternity establishment means more children have access to child support and other benefits.The voluntary process also saves both parties and the court time and money.
California Family Code section 7571
Under California Family Code section 7571, the man the mother identifies as the father at the time of the birth has the opportunity to complete a voluntary declaration of paternity.
Once the declaration is signed by both parties(and the signing is witnessed), hospital staff will forward it to the Department of Child Support Service. Hospital staff must send it within twenty days of the date the declaration was signed. Generally, a completed and properly filed voluntary declaration of paternity shall establish paternity of a child and should have the same weight and effect as a paternity judgment.