Comprehensive Paternity Legal Services in Westlake Village

Experienced Paternity Attorneys in Westlake Village, CA

Paternity cases can be emotionally charged and intricate, requiring a skilled legal advocate to protect all parties' rights. At Richard Ross Associates in Westlake Village, our experienced attorneys are well-versed in handling paternity cases with the sensitivity and expertise they demand. Our commitment is to guide our clients through the process, providing clarity and strategic legal representation. 

Call Richard Ross Associates today at (805) 777-1011 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our paternity attorney in Westlake Village!

What is Considered Paternity in California?

Paternity refers to the legal establishment of a father's relationship with a child. This determination holds significant implications, influencing child custody, visitation rights, and child support. While paternity is often assumed for married couples, it becomes a crucial issue in cases where parents are unmarried. Clear legal recognition of paternity ensures both parents can fulfill their responsibilities and enjoy their rights.

Establishing Paternity in California

In California, paternity can be established through various methods, offering flexibility to parents seeking resolution. The most common ways to establish paternity include:

  • Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP): This is a simple and often expedited method for unmarried parents to acknowledge the biological father legally. Both parents sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity form, which is then filed with the California Department of Child Support Services.
  • Court Order: If a dispute or one party contests paternity, the court may become involved. Genetic testing may be ordered to determine biological parentage. Once the court establishes paternity, it becomes a legally binding decision.
  • Marriage: If the parents marry after the child's birth, paternity is automatically established in the eyes of the law. This applies even if the parents were not married at the time of the child's birth.
  • Presumption of Paternity: California law presumes a man is a biological father if he was married to the child's mother at the time of the child's birth or if he married the mother after the birth and is listed on the birth certificate.

Fam. Code §7570 explains, “There is a compelling state interest in establishing parentage for all children. Establishing parentage is the first step toward a child support award, which, in turn, provides children with equal rights and access to benefits, including, but not limited to, social security, health insurance, survivors’ benefits, military benefits, and inheritance rights.”

Fam. Code §7540 (a) states, “Except as provided in [Fam. Code §7541], the child of spouses who cohabited at the time of conception and birth is conclusively presumed to be a child of the marriage.” Fam. Code §7540 (b) states an exception to this conclusive presumption, where the court determines that the husband of the woman who gave birth was impotent or sterile at the time of conception and that the child was not conceived through assisted reproduction.

How Long Does a Father Have to Establish Paternity?

The time frame for establishing paternity in California is not unlimited. The law recognizes that timely resolution is crucial for the child's well-being and all parties involved. Generally, California has a two-year statute of limitations for challenging paternity. This means that if a presumed father wishes to contest paternity, he must do so within two years of learning about the child's birth.

It's important to note that this time limit may be extended in certain circumstances, such as cases involving fraud or coercion or if the presumed father was prevented from challenging paternity due to factors beyond his control. Seeking legal advice promptly is crucial in navigating these complexities and ensuring one's rights are protected within the specified time frame.

Get Professional Paternity Representation in Westlake Village

If you are in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Moorpark, or any of the surrounding communities, speak with a legal team member at Richard Ross Associates right away. Our firm has the experience and focus needed to handle your case professionally and with the best possible outcome. We understand California's family code and the laws that apply to paternity. We also understand the legal process of establishing paternity and can ensure your rights are secure when pursuing a divorce.

Contact Richard Ross Associates today to meet with our paternity lawyer in Westlake Village!


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  • This is very important: If you have separated from your spouse before one of you has filed for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, avoid agreeing to and placing into effect a temporary parenting plan arrangement regarding the children unless you will be able to live with this arrangement after the divorce papers have been filed. Once you begin a parenting plan that seems to be working, it becomes the "status quo." It is very difficult to convince a mediator or judge to change the status quo, especially if it is working or appears to be working and is not detrimental to the minor children.
  • If you have not received a judgment dissolving your marriage before the end of the year, you may file an individual tax return under the status of "married, filing separately" or a joint tax return with your spouse. You should consult your accountant as to the advantages of these options. You may obtain special information booklets regarding tax information for divorce or separated individuals from your local IRS office or read the IRS booklet online.
  • To file an action for divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, a person must have resided in the state of California for six months and in the county where the action is filed for three months prior to filing the petition in court. This is true of either the petitioner or the respondent - either person can meet the test and allow a filing. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can file even if you do not meet it yourself.
  • The court can and usually will order you to move out of your residence if your spouse convinces the court that you have been violent toward your spouse or threatened your spouse. You could be given ex-parte notice to be in court the next day because your spouse is seeking an order to make you move out and stay out. You can be ordered to leave immediately and not return even if your spouse is not on the property title or lease agreement! Once you are ordered to leave, it is not likely that you will be allowed to return.
  • Before you get a divorce, photocopy all relevant financial documents that you can obtain and store them off-site with a trusted friend or relative. Do not store them in the trunk of your car where they can easily be found and removed by your spouse. There may be both personal and strategic reasons not to tip off your spouse that documents are being reviewed for a possible dissolution proceeding. Make copies of documents that you find in the residence and return the original documents to their original location as soon as possible so that your spouse won't notice that they are missing. It is often advisable to make the photocopies when you are sure your spouse is away for an extended time, such as during a workday. It is advisable to gather as many relevant financial documents as possible while they are still available and before they have been removed or destroyed by your spouse. This will significantly reduce the cost of divorce litigation if the documents do not have to be recovered later. It will also permit us to get a true picture of all community assets and debts as soon as possible.