Orange County Paternity Lawyer

The parents of minor children have equal rights and responsibilities involving the care and support of their children. This applies whether the parents were never married to each other or were married and then got divorced. When the identity of the father is uncertain, an Orange County paternity lawyer can help bring clarity to the situation.

Paternity, meaning who is the biological father of the child, is often questioned in the following situations:

  • A woman claims a man is the father of her child and he says that he is not the father.
  • A man claims he is the father of a woman’s child and she says he is wrong.
  • A woman is not sure who is the father of her child.
  • A child wonders who his or her biological father is.

In California, there are several different ways paternity can be established. A Southern California paternity lawyer can assist either men, women or children in either disputing or establishing paternity.

Orange County Paternity Attorney

A skilled paternity attorney can more efficiently resolve a paternity determination. This can help families come together, protect parental rights, and ensure that children get the support they need. Attorney David Goldberg, an Orange County Paternity Lawyer and principal attorney at The Goldberg Legal Group, has more than 18 years of experience working with parents on paternity issues. He will help you whether you want to establish paternity or defend against allegations that you are the father when in fact you are not.

Understanding Paternity

Here are ways that a man can be identified as the father and his name entered on the birth certificate.

  • Married parents: If a married couple has a child, the husband is presumed to be the father. If the mother became pregnant through artificial insemination that was consented to by her husband, the husband is presumed to be the father. This is called presumed paternity, and it means that neither parent needs to establish paternity.
  • Parents are not married to each other and the mother is not married to another man: If the parents are unmarried, they will need to establish paternity. The father can sign a document declaring he is the biological father of the child. If the putative father refuses to sign a declaration, the mother will need to get a court order in order to require him to submit to genetic testing to determine if he is, in fact, the biological father.

The laws of presumed parentage also apply to registered domestic partners in California. Genetic testing can determine with a 99.9 percent accuracy who the father is. There is a 100 percent accuracy in determining who the father is not.

Orange County Paternity Lawyer

Ways to Establish Paternity in Orange County

If the parents are not married and, therefore, do not have presumed paternity, there are a couple of ways that they can establish who the biological and legal parents of their child are. These include:

Voluntary Declaration of Paternity

Both parents can sign a voluntary declaration of paternity (VDOP) at the hospital after the child’s birth if they agree on a child’s paternity. They could also do so later at a governmental agency, such as a child support agency or birth registrar.

By signing this form, both parents waive their right to genetic testing or to a court hearing about the child’s parentage. The form is filed with the Department of Child Support Services in the Parentage Opportunity Program. Once this form is filed, it is as enforceable as a court order, meaning that the court can establish and enforce child support and child custody orders.

If either parent changes their mind about signing the form, they typically must do so within 60 days of signing the VDOP. If either parent has doubts that one is the biological parent, they should refrain from signing the VDOP and instead establish paternity through the court.

Court Order

If the parents disagree on who the biological parents of a child are, or they are unsure, they can establish paternity through a court order. Either parent can file this petition, as can a child support agency. When the child is older, they can also file this petition.

The court can order genetic testing of both potential parents and the child. It can then declare paternity in a court order based on those results in addition to other factors. A judge can decide that an individual will have paternity rights, even if they are not a biological parent. Once legal paternity is established, the court can then make decisions about child custody or child support.

Establishing Orange County Paternity is Important

There are several benefits to establishing paternity of a child. Establishing Orange County paternity gives the legal father the right to have a relationship with his child or children. It also puts on his shoulders the responsibility of caring for them. If parents remain together, this enables them to have the legal right to make decisions about their children together. It also gives them other key parental rights.

Establishing paternity is also important if parents do not stay together. Both parents have the same legal rights and responsibilities once paternity is established, including the right to child custody, visitation, and parenting time if they separate. Both parents also have the responsibility to financially support their child, meaning that both parents have an equal right to receive and the responsibility to provide child support payments if they separate.

There are also many benefits for the child once paternity is established. It gives children the security of knowing who their father is, a sense of belonging, and many other emotional benefits. Children will know who both of their parents are, and they can receive support and care from both parents. It may also put the child in contact with more of their extended family.

It also gives the children access to their father’s medical history and his family’s medical history, which may be important to the children’s future. This can help health providers determine if the child may have inherited any medical or genetic conditions. Financial and governmental benefits for the children, such as an inheritance, health insurance, life insurance, Social Security benefits, or veterans benefits through their father, will be available to them. This, in addition to the right to receive financial support from both parents, can significantly improve a child’s life and well-being.


Q: How Long Does a Father Have to Establish Paternity in California?

A: A father can establish paternity in California at any time after birth. There is no statute of limitations or time limit, although once a child is 18, paternity is often unnecessary. If a father signs a voluntary declaration of paternity, and he or another party later contests this paternity, filing for genetic testing to contest a declaration must be done within two years of the child’s birth. However, this limit does not apply if no father has been legally established through a declaration or court order.

Q: How Do I Get a Court-Ordered Paternity Test in California?

A: A biological parent, an individual who believes that they are the other biological parent, the child, or a child support agency can file with the court for a paternity test if there is uncertainty about the other biological parent. They must file a petition to establish paternity, a summons, and a request for genetic testing with the court. Copies of the filed papers must also be served to the other parent and/or the child if the child is 12 years old or older. The court will review the case to determine whether to order genetic testing.

Q: What Is an Ex Parte Order in Orange County Family Law?

A: An ex parte order in Orange County family law is a temporary order. Ex parte orders may be temporary orders for child custody, child support, or spousal support. These orders are requested under an existing family law case. Otherwise, a family law case must be filed to be eligible for one. Ex parte orders will only be granted if there is an emergency that can be proven, which means:

  1. There is immediate danger of irreparable harm to an individual involved in the case.
  2. There is immediate danger of a loss of or damage to property.

Q: What Is Parentage by Estoppel in California?

A: Parentage by estoppel in California is another type of presumed parentage, wherein a parent is assumed to be a legal parent, even if they are not actually the biological parent. The options for presumed parentage include:

  1. The parents are married when one parent receives or gives birth to the child.
  2. The parents attempted to marry, and the child was conceived or born during this time, even if the marriage was invalid.
  3. The parents married after the child was born, and both agreed to have their names on the birth certificate.
  4. Both parents acted as though the child was theirs and supported the child, which is parentage by estoppel

Areas of Practice

Contact Us at The Goldberg Legal Group Today

Family law matters can be legally and personally complicated. A paternity case can significantly change a family’s life, and it is crucial that such a case is handled with the care it deserves. When you need an Orange County paternity attorney, turn to the Goldberg Legal Group. We can help you navigate establishing paternity or contesting a paternity case. Consultations are free and you have nothing to lose. Call us today at 949-229-0229 or use our online form. Don’t wait, contact us today!