Paternity may be a complicated issue when the parents of a child are unmarried, depending on the circumstances. If a man has been living with a child in a family-like situation and has shown responsible actions and commitment, he is also assumed to be the father.

If that is not the case, a paternity test will need to be filed for the court to recognize his parentage and give court orders for support, custody and/or visitation.

Regardless of the marital state and living situation of the alleged father, a man in a variety of circumstances may wish to request a paternity test to be sure he is the parent or to avoid being hit with a surprise later in his life.

The biological father of a child has rights and responsibilities to the child no matter his relationship to the mother.

Either parent can begin a case to establish parentage.Going through court is the longer and more arduous way to establish paternity. A paternity order may be submitted through a California court by the following people with legal standing:

  • The child’s mother or mother of the unborn child
  • The man who believes he is the father to the child or the unborn child
  • An adoption agency
  • A child support agency who believes there is a neglectful situation
  • The child who is aged 12 or older

A paternity order can be submitted through Child Support Services but that is a much longer process than when you hire a professional attorney. Many people don’t want to wait when it comes to establishing paternity.

Paternity is decided so the court can order:

  • Child support
  • Health insurance for the child
  • Physical and legal custody of the child (where the child lives and what part of the decision-making process each parent gets)
  • Visitation
  • Payment of court costs, meaning the fees the court charges to start the case
  • Payment of the genetic testing, and
  • Payment of either party’s reasonable attorney’s fees

This is a situation which requires an attorney to guide you in the process. Mothers who seek to establish paternity of an uncooperative alleged father will be better off consulting an attorney.