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South Bay
Paternity Lawyers

With a commitment to favorable outcomes for our clients, the team at Olsen & Olsen in Torrance recognizes the importance of establishing paternity, offering compassionate and strategic advocacy for you and your family.

What is Paternity?

In California, establishing paternity is the legal process of determining the legal father of a child. It is an important step in cases where parents are unmarried, as it establishes the legal rights and responsibilities of the father regarding the child. Paternity is assumed for any child born during the marriage of two spouses.

Voluntary Declaration of Paternity

California encourages parents to establish paternity through the Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP) process. This is a simple and voluntary form that unmarried parents can sign at the hospital when the child is born or at a later time.

Benefits of VDP

Signing the VDP form creates a legal relationship between the father and the child, giving the father certain rights and responsibilities, such as custody and visitation rights and the obligation to provide child support.

Hospital Births

The VDP form is often provided at the hospital when the child is born. Both parents can sign it voluntarily, and the hospital will submit the form to the California Department of Child Support Services.

Outside the Hospital

If parents do not sign the VDP form at the hospital, they can obtain and sign the form later at the local child support agency, registrar of births, or other designated agencies.

Establishing Paternity through the Court

Not always are parties able to voluntarily establish parenthood. In this case, paternity can be established through court proceedings.

Filing a Paternity Petition

Either parent can initiate the process by filing a paternity petition with the family court. The petitioner may be the mother, the alleged father, or a government agency (such as the local child support agency) seeking child support.

Genetic Testing Order

If there is a dispute about paternity, either party can request genetic testing. The court may order DNA testing to determine biological parentage. Genetic testing is a highly accurate method of establishing paternity.

Court Order Establishing Paternity

Based on the evidence presented in court, including genetic testing results, the court will issue an order establishing or denying paternity. If the court determines that the alleged father is the legal father, it will issue an order of paternity.

Why is it Important to Establish Paternity?

For fathers, it is important to establish Paternity. Paternity allows fathers the legal right to custody of their child. Without paternity being established fathers do not have the right to visitation or making decisions on how to raise their child. Read more on child custody here.

For mothers, it may be necessary to obtain child support for your child. Without having your child's father established through paternity you cannot seek child support. Read more on child support here.

Establishing paternity establishes the legal relationship between the father and the child. If paternity has not been established for your child, it is important to seek immediate legal aid to establish this relationship. Conversely, if you are served with a Paternity action for a child who is not yours it is important to take immediate steps as Paternity has permanent and lasting results.


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