Los Angeles Paternity Lawyer
The United States Administration for Children and Families states that children with involved and caring fathers have a higher infant IQ and improved speaking and reasoning skills. Further, they are also more likely to start school at a higher academic level when a father is involved in their life. As a result, it is often in a child’s best interest to ensure that the father of a child is recognized as such and that the law holds him to his paternal duties.
Both mothers and fathers of children may have reason to petition a court to establish paternity. For example, a man could deny paternity in an effort to avoid the financial obligations that are involved with raising a child. Similarly, a man could seek to establish paternity in order to ensure that he had visitation rights with a child that he had with a woman with whom he had no other relationship.
On the other hand, a man who believes that he is not the father of a child may want to take the time to determine whether or not he is. Failure to do so may result in him caring for another man’s child and even having legal obligations imposed upon him in certain cases.
Due to the significant implications involved with legal issues involving paternity, it is important to do everything you can to protect your legal rights, whether you are challenging paternity or seeking to establish it. For this reason, if you are involved in a paternity dispute, do not delay in contacting an experienced Los Angeles paternity attorney who will fight for the rights and well-being of your child.
Presumed Fatherhood in California
California law actually provides for different “classifications” of fatherhood or paternity. A man is “presumed” to be the father of a child if he was married to the child’s mother when the child was conceived, if he was married to the child’s mother when the child was born and agreed to support the child, or if he welcomed the child into his home and acted as the child’s father. The latter is referred to as “parentage by estoppel” in legal circles, and it permits the court to find that the man is the legal father even if he is not the biological one. Such matters are complex and require strong factual assertions. Accordingly, if you are in a paternity dispute, it is important to contact a Los Angeles family law lawyer who can assist you in presenting your case.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
According to Los Angeles County family courts, establishing paternity entitles your child to certain rights and privileges, including but not limited to, the following:
- Financial Support
- Access to family history and medical records
- Health and life insurance coverage
- The right of inheritance, and
- The right to social security and additional government benefits
Further, once parenting is established, the court is free to set a visitation schedule, process a name change, and order reimbursement for pregnancy and hospital expenses. Without establishing paternity, the court is without authority to order assistance for you and your child.
In Los Angeles County Courts, there are two main ways to establish parentage. Parentage can be established voluntarily by signing a Declaration of Paternity with the help of an attorney, or, if the father is reluctant to accept paternity, a mother can file for a court order declaring such. Generally, if paternity is disputed, then the alleged father has the right to demand a DNA test, and the Court will normally rule based on the results of such a test.
Do I Need a Family Law Attorney to Establish Paternity?
Many people wonder whether they need to hire an attorney in order to establish paternity. While it is not necessary to do so, it is important to keep in mind that establishing paternity is a complicated legal matter and the outcome of your case could have an effect on your child for the rest of his or life. A family law lawyer will thoroughly evaluate your case, advise as to your options, and advocate for your position in court. In many cases, the representation of a lawyer can make the process go much more smoothly and ensure that your case is resolved as favorably as possible.
Contact an Experienced Los Angeles Paternity Attorney
Hiring an experienced family law attorney in Los Angeles can greatly increase your peace of mind about the paternity process and assist you in filing either your declarations of paternity or court case. At Furman & Zavatsky LLP, our lawyers have the experience you need to assist you with matters of paternity. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation at 818-528-3471. Serving the greater Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley area.