Families are known to come in all different shapes and sizes. While non-traditional families are considered no less than families than the traditional. In law, paternity is the term used to describe an individual’s status as the legal father of a child. A common misconception is when paternity is compared to biology where you don’t necessarily have to be a child’s biological father to be their legal father.
When it comes to divorce, many men often feel they are at a disadvantage–especially when it comes to the rights to their children. At the Westlake Village Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi, we are committed to helping both mothers and fathers sort through the legal issues and considerations of paternity and the fathers’ rights. With two decades of experience handling these matters throughout Ventura County, we have the background and understanding to help you efficiently navigate the paternity process. We focus on providing solutions that are tailored to your needs and the best interests of your children.
Consult with a Westlake Village paternity attorney for guidance through your paternity questions. We are happy to answer your questions and help you through the entire process.
As it was previously mentioned when it comes to paternity, it isn’t always about biology. It comes down to rights and obligations as a legal father of a child. Nevertheless, there are some cases that involve biology but in other instances, paternity is about legality.
Under state law, whenever two people are legally married each individual is assumed to be the legal parent of any children they have. Of course, this can be met with challenges and paternity can be established in another legal way.
Paternity can be legally established by voluntarily signing a certificate of parentage at the hospital, county welfare office, or registrar and court-ordered DNA testing.
If a father is seeking parental rights in Ventura County, he must first file a petition to establish paternity. When a father was not married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, he must undergo paternity testing to establish that he is in fact the biological father.
After this, the court will evaluate the extent of parental rights he will be granted, as well as child support that he will be obligated to pay. Even if the court does not initially grant the father the visitation he requested, he can later seek to modify the order or the judgment to request more time with the children.
With modern technology, society is granted the ability to test for paternity using a saliva test. The mother and father can submit saliva samples to DNA testing sites. When the results come back and if it indicates that there is a 95% chance or more that the father is the biological father, paternity is effectively established. Every father has a legal right to request a paternity test.
The results of a paternity hearing can be challenged. As the presumed father, you have the right to submit evidence. The testing can be contested on the basis of fraud or inaccuracies. Sometimes the court may use a saliva test or HLA blood test.
To seek child support, a mother must also file a paternity action. This will obligate the father to take a paternity test or declare that he is the biological father. After the paternity has been proven, the court will make a decision regarding the amount of support that should be awarded. This is generally based on a standardized formula. Unless there is a reason to prohibit contact with the father, he will usually be given the option to gain certain parental rights and visitation.
All paternity cases are confidential. Once you have filed for paternity, information about the case is only accessible to the party and his or her attorney on record. Our lawyers understand the delicate nature of these matters and provide caring and discreet representation throughout the case, customizing the solutions we provide to your situation and circumstances, as well as maintaining the best interests of the children involved.
It is important to establish paternity for legal purposes; a legal father has a duty to financially support their child. When paternity is established it can also allow the child to be covered under the father’s employment sponsored health insurance, protect the child’s rights to government benefits, give the child the right to inherit the father’s property upon death, give the father legal rights to sue for custody, give the mother legal right to child support and provide financial protection and protect the father’s right to participate in important decisions regarding the child.
When legal paternity is established both parents share in the obligations and rights as parents. The courts are advocates in supporting the idea that both parents be involved in a child’s life.
Later, after the fact, disputes tend to arise. Sometimes the mother may want to establish paternity to enforce child support laws, but not want to give up their time with the child to permit the father’s active involvement.
Divorce is not the same for everyone. Fathers have specific needs that must be addressed. At The Law Offices of Stephanie L. Mahdavi, we believe fathers should be treated fairly when it comes to issues regarding family law. Our legal staff is committed to helping protect the rights of fathers and to look after their best interests. To learn more and discuss your case with a skilled family law attorney, please contact our Westlake Village law offices today at 805-379-4550.
At Westlake Village, we are here to answer all your questions as it pertains to establishing paternity. Our trusted attorneys will help with the legal process and protect your rights simultaneously. Every one of Westlake Village’s attorneys is experienced in dealing with complex custody and child support issues. Having the right lawyer on your side is key in protecting your interests.