Paternity testing in California can be done to determine a child biological parent should this be disputed. Once done, and if conclusive, it then establishes legal obligations and duties owed by a biological parent.
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Paternity testing is done to determine whether or not a particular man is the biological father of a child. This procedure involves collecting and examining the DNA of a small sample of bodily fluid or tissue from a child and the potential father. When a baby is conceived, each parent passes on half of his/her DNA to the baby, whose genetic code (DNA) is a shared mix of only its mother’s and father’s DNA. By collecting and examining a small sample of DNA from the baby and the potential father, a paternity test can confirm or disprove that the potential father is indeed the biological father of the baby.
If parents are married when a child is born, it is presumed that the married couple are the child’s parents – the husband is the father and the wife is the mother.
However, if the parents of a child were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born, the child does not have a legal father until parentage is established. In this case, the biological father who was not married to the mother does not legally have any rights or responsibilities for the child. For that, parentage must be established legally. If a person does not admit that he or she is the parent, the court may order paternity testing for the alleged father, mother, and child.
The law will presume that a person is a child’s other parent under the following circumstances:
- The individual was married to the child’s mother when the child was conceived or born.
- The individual attempted to marry the mother and the child was conceived or born during this time.
- The individual married the mother after the birth and agreed either to have their name on the birth certificate or to support the child.
- The individual represented to others and acted as if the child was his own.
Voluntary Declaration of Paternity
A Voluntary Declaration of Paternity is a statement that, when signed by both parents, establishes them as the legal parents of the child. This declaration can be used in lieu of a court order to establish who the father of the child is when the mother and father are not married to each other. There is no need for paternity testing once a declaration have been provided unless the claim is challenged.
Paternity Testing to Determine Parentage
A man who disputes the fact that he is the father of a child has the right to request that both he and the child undergo paternity testing. Paternity testing is often done by taking saliva samples from the man, child and mother. Paternity testing must be performed pursuant to a court order to establish paternity.
Visitation and Child Support
Establishing parentage is necessary before custody, visitation, or child support will be ordered by a court. Once a person is established as the father or mother of a child, he or she will have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent:
- The parent will able to request custody and visitation orders from the court so that he or she can legally visit with his or her child.
- The parent will be responsible for paying child support and will have to pay half of the uninsured health-care costs for the children and half of the child-care costs that result from the custodial parent getting or having a job or going to school.
If a person is established as a legal parent of a child, that person MUST financially support the child. It is a crime for a legal parent to fail to support his or her child. A legal parent also has the right to get custody or visitation rights related to the child.
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