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Los Angeles Paternity Attorney

Representing Families in Los Angeles County for 20+ Years

When your rights are on the line, you need to work with an experienced Los Angeles divorce attorney who can handle complicated family law matters. If your paternity dispute involves complex issues such as assisted reproduction, surrogacy, or sperm donation, an experienced family law attorney understands how courts in Los Angeles are making parentage determinations in light of these advancing reproductive technologies.

If you are dealing with a paternity concern, or if you need to immediately file a lawsuit to protect your parental rights in Los Angeles, then contact a family law attorney from Castellanos & Associates, APLC. With nearly two decades of experience, our Managing Attorney Edwin J. Castellanos can offer you sound legal advice in both English and Spanish.

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How Do I Establish Paternity?

Some of the ways that paternity can be established in California include:

  • Signing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity under Family Code section 7570;
  • Getting a court order;
  • Obtaining a Judgment of Paternity in a paternity action that has been brought by the Child Support Services Department (CSSD).

When there is a legal issue over a parent-child relationship, a paternity action (or "parentage" action) can be filed by either the father or mother of a child. However, there are situations where paternity is automatically assigned.

There are "presumed parents" under California law when:

  • A man is a child's other parent when he was married to the child's mother when the child was conceived or born;
  • He attempted to marry the mother (even if the marriage was not valid) and the child was conceived or born during the marriage;
  • He married the mother after the birth and agreed whether to have his name on the birth certificate or to support the child; or
  • A presumption arises under Family Code 7611(d) where a man is the father of a child if he receives the child into his home and openly holds the child out as his own.

Once a court determines the legal parents of a child, a paternity action gives the court authority or the "power" to make other important orders such as custody, visitation, and/or child support orders.

The Benefits of Filing a Paternity Action

If you are an unmarried mother or father, there are some clear benefits to establishing paternity. However, it is important to remember that once it has been established there will be a corresponding obligation to pay child support. At the same time, custody and visitation rights allow a noncustodial parent to be a part of the child's life.

Some other important benefits to consider when establishing paternity include:

  • A child's right to receive financial support from both parents;
  • Social security and veteran's benefits for a child;
  • Obtaining health and life insurance coverage from either parent, if applicable;
  • Securing inheritance rights from either parent for the benefit of a child.

If you are in need of a family law attorney in Los Angeles to help you understand your parental rights in California, contact our firm to speak to one of our dedicated Los Angeles family law lawyers. Through affordable and dependable service, we are ready to preserve your rights!