Not all children are born to parents who are married. California couples who have children while not married, and who do not subsequently marry, are subject to the paternity laws of the state.

Simply stated, establishing paternity involves determining the legal father of a child. California law always recognizes the mother of a child. But if the mother and father were not married when the child was born, then paternity must be established for the law to recognize the father.

Paternity law gives all children the same rights and benefits, regardless of whether their parents are married or not when they are born. It also gives fathers the same custody and visitation rights with their children regardless of whether those children were born in or outside of a marriage.

On the surface, paternity seems simple enough. A father wanting to establish his parental rights can offer the court a copy of the Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (POPS Declaration) he signed at the time the child was born, or may be able to take a DNA paternity test to legally prove his identity. However, the matter can sometimes be quite complex, as there are circumstances where a non-biological father can be determined to be a child’s presumed, or legal, father rather than the child’s true biological father.

At the end of the day, we can generally bring a paternity action to the court if you are a child’s biological father who wishes to establish paternity and assert your custody and/or visitation rights, a man who has been holding himself out as a child’s father and are seeking to protect your rights and become the presumed father, or a mother who wants the court to recognize your child’s father to ensure that the child’s rights are taken care of and that the father meets his financial and legal obligations.

Contact us or call (925) 465-2500 or (707) 398-6008 for more information or to schedule an initial consultation at Sparks Family Law, Inc. with attorney Gary D. Sparks.