Paternity is an inherently important matter, but the legal processes involved in establishing and proving paternity can be complex and challenging. At Diaz Law Firm, we work diligently to uphold the rights of parents and achieve optimum results for clients. Whether you are attempting to establish a paternity claim or fight an existing parentage dispute, experienced Los Angeles paternity lawyer Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz can help. To learn more, consider contacting our office at (626) 261-0402 today.
What Is Paternity According to California Law?
Parentage, also known as “paternity,” is a term used in court to refer to a child’s legal parents. There are several ways that paternity can be established in California and, in some cases, a person may qualify as a legal parent even if they are not biologically related to the child. In court, parents other than the biological mother will be placed into one of three categories:
- Alleged parent: In the majority of cases, fathers or other parents begin as alleged parents until proven otherwise. Alleged parents have very few legal rights, including the right of notice of all hearings and the right to prove that they are presumed parents. Alleged parents may seek a paternity test to establish their relationship with the child.
- Biological father: If a DNA paternity test confirms that someone is the parent of a child, or if the courts order a judgment of paternity, they will move into this category. Biological fathers have greater legal rights than alleged parents and reunification services may be offered if the court decides that is what is in the child’s best interest.
- Presumed parent: A person can qualify as a presumed parent if they are listed on the child’s birth certificate, if a court order establishes parentage, or if that person has raised the child as their own for a substantial amount of time. Presumed parents have many legal rights, including visitation, custody, and reunification services.
Establishing paternity and navigating the resulting legal responsibilities is often quite complex. For this reason, many people seek guidance from a knowledgeable Los Angeles paternity lawyer.
About Diaz Law Firm’s Values
Having established Diaz Law Firm in 2008 out of sheer necessity for greater transparency, compassion, and respect in the legal industry, Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz is dedicated to helping California families navigate legal issues. We approach every case with our core values of equality, justice, peace, and self-criticism, and prioritize client interests at every step. DLF’s unique approach and mindset allow us to successfully represent hundreds of clients in issues related to paternity, divorce, child custody, child support, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a Los Angeles paternity lawyer with well over a decade of experience, Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz has worked closely with numerous families to establish paternity and navigate legal obligations after the fact. Some of the most frequently asked questions that Cheryl receives from current and prospective clients include the following.
How Do I Get a Paternity Test?
Paternity testing is a scientific technique used to establish a child’s biological and legal father. It is possible to conduct a paternity test either before the child is born when the mother is more than eight weeks pregnant, or after the birth of the child. Blood tests and DNA tests are utilized to establish paternity, but DNA tests are typically required in formal court proceedings.
There are several different avenues that a person can take to get a paternity test. At-home testing kits are available, but it is generally advised that you seek professional assistance through a credible agency. A local child support agency can bring an action to establish paternity. As part of the State Department of Child Support Services, every county has a local child support agency. It is possible to open a case through your local agency while the mother is still pregnant or, alternatively, after the child is born. Either or both parents can seek a paternity test through their local agency.
How Long Does a Paternity Test Take?
For a DNA test to be admissible in court, the test must meet all AABB requirements under California law. It will typically take from one to five business days to receive the results of a standard paternity test from an accredited lab.
Hiring a Los Angeles Paternity Lawyer Near You
The right Los Angeles paternity lawyer will have the experience necessary to guide you through all aspects of establishing paternity and the resulting legal obligations that arise from this relationship. When hiring an attorney to represent your interests, it is important to ensure that they have experience navigating paternity matters and understand the complexities of California law as it relates to custody, support, and/or visitation guidelines.
When consulting with prospective attorneys, the following considerations may be helpful to ensure that you hire the right legal counsel for your needs:
- Does the lawyer’s personality mesh well with yours? It is important that you feel comfortable talking to your attorney about important and personal matters.
- How does the lawyer communicate? Excessive delays in communication can be frustrating, so ensure that you establish the form and frequency of your correspondence early on. How often can you expect to hear from them? Will you primarily be communicating via phone, email, or some other method?
- Do the attorney’s fees align with your budget? Seeking legal guidance is an investment into your future, but it is nonetheless important to ensure that their fees are in line with your allocated budget.
- What solutions have they offered for your case? A lawyer’s primary job is to offer solutions that most effectively benefit your case. During your conversation, have they given an indication that they understand your case, your specific needs, and the potential solutions that may exist to overcome your issue(s)?
Contact Diaz Law Firm Today
Regardless of your reason for wanting to establish paternity, it is our priority at Diaz Law Firm to secure an acceptable outcome for clients and their families. Experienced and compassionate attorney Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz is able to walk you through the paternity process and provide fair and fast resolution for your legal issues related to paternity. To begin working with a dedicated Los Angeles paternity lawyer, consider contacting us at (626) 261-0402 today.