Thousand Oaks Paternity Lawyer

What is paternity?

Family law issues that involve children can become problematic when paternity has not been established. Paternity means that the father has been identified and legally established as eligible for fathers' rights in all family law matters. This is particularly important in case of divorce. When paternity has not been established and a divorce proceeding is commenced, the father of any children involved could be denied custody, child support, or visitation rights simply because paternity was not established.

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.

The procedure for challenging the presumption during the first 2 years of the child's life is set forth in Fam. Code §7541. 

Presumption of paternity is constitutional in giving categorical preference to mother’s husband over natural father. The alleged biological father has no constitutionally protected liberty interest defeating Cal.'s statutory presumption favoring the husband.

There are other conclusive presumptions and other rebuttable presumptions regarding parentage that should be discussed with a certified family law specialist in Westlake Village.

Paternity can be established in more ways than one. First of all, it can be established at the time of birth when the mother and father obtain and sign the birth certificate for the child. It can also be established after a child's birth by amending a birth certificate or by filing a Declaration of Paternity. This document can be filed by a father who wants to establish paternity and obtain custody or visitation rights, or by a mother who wants to establish paternity and obtain a support order. Consult with a Westlake Village divorce attorney from Richard Ross Associates today to learn more about paternity and how we can help you establish paternity to ensure that you are treated fairly in a divorce proceeding.

Looking for a qualified divorce attorney in Westlake Village?

If you are in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Moorpark, or any of the surrounding communities, speak with a member of the legal team 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 each of the laws that apply to paternity. We also understand the legal process of establishing paternity and can make sure that your rights are secure when pursuing a divorce. Contact our firm today to get started on your case.


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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.