Orange County Paternity Lawyers
Understanding Paternity Actions & Your Rights
Paternity actions deal with establishing parentage, legally showing that
a man is the father of a child. These are complex matters involving heightened
emotions as well as the future of the child or children in question. Additionally,
paternity will be directly entwined with
child custody, visitation, and
child support. You need to be certain that your rights and interests are protected in
any paternity action.
Paternity is an important focus of our practice here at Moshtael Family
Law. Our Orange County paternity attorneys know just how much of an impact
such an action may have on every aspect of your life, not to mention the
life of the child. Whether you are a father looking to establish paternity
to gain custody or visitation rights, are a mother who needs to establish
paternity to seek support, or are a man who has had a paternity claim
against him, we can help. We can analyze the situation at hand, discuss
and determine your goals, and get to work immediately to achieve these.
Contact our team online or at to arrange a free initial consultation.
How Is Paternity Established in California?
In California, when a child is born, parents who are married or in a domestic
partnership are automatically considered that child’s legal parents.
Unmarried parents, however, face specific challenges. A Declaration of
Paternity must be issued before a court will issue any order involving
child custody, visitation, or support. If paternity is contested, the
court may order mandatory genetic testing of the father, mother, and child.
With paternity comes specific rights and responsibilities:
right to request custody or visitation; and
responsibility to pay child support and possibly for childcare and healthcare.
When you involve an Orange County paternity lawyer at Moshtael Family Law,
you will get a complete education on your rights and responsibilities,
and the steps that need to be taken in your paternity action. Our goal
is effective and affordable legal counsel, and we provide this based on
over 130 years of combined family law experience.
Why Is Paternity Important & When Is It Necessary?
Ideally, paternity should be established at the hospital when the baby
is born (or as soon as possible thereafter.) It is important to determine
paternity as soon as possible because the court will not make any orders
regarding visitation, custody, or support until paternity is legally established.
Declarations of Paternity (DOP)
A DOP is a legal form that both parents sign voluntarily either at the
hospital when the child is born or shortly after that establishes who
the father of the child is without the parents needing to go to court.
But if a Parent Doesn’t Sign a DOP voluntarily, then how does paternity
In these cases, the mother will need to file a petition with the court
(the father can also file a petition to be served to the mother) and then
the parents will be summoned to the court to begin the process of establishing
DNA Tests for Paternity
What if a man does not think he's the biological father of a child, even
if the woman thinks that he is?
This is where genetic tests – likely a DNA test – is used to
determine the child’s biological father. The court will order this
testing, and it can only be done by agencies that the court has pre-approved.
Sometimes, the costs of such tests are passed on directly to the parties
involved in the matter.
Child Support without Paternity
Can a woman receive child support from a man she thinks is the father,
even if paternity has not been established?
No. For the court to order someone to pay child support, paternity must
be established. By law, parents are required to support their children
financially, so it is in the child’s best interest for paternity
to be established as soon as possible.
Can a Father’s Name Be Removed From a Birth Certificate?
Yes, but only by court order.
Can a Woman Still Name a Man As the Father Even if She Knows He Is Not
the Biological Father?
No, this is illegal.
Call today for the quality representation you deserve
in a paternity case.