If you are a man who may be the father of a newborn child, you may want to establish paternity in order to obtain and exercise parental rights. On the other hand, you may wish to establish that you are NOT the father, and avoid financial support obligations. But time is of the essence and one needs to act promptly to protect his rights.

If you are a new mother, you may need to establish parentage in order to assure financial help from the father. Modern science now allows for near certainty, via a simple blood test/DNA examination. Married and unmarried parties in these circumstances should give attention to these issues in a timely manner because a delay can adversely affect both the parties and the children.

California's Statutory Scheme Governing Paternity

(1) The Family Code contains several interrelated statutes that together govern the judicial determination of paternity: (1) the Uniform Parentage Act (§ 7600 et seq.) containing rebuttable paternity presumptions; (2) the paternity judgment (or the pre-1997 conclusive paternity presumption) arising from a voluntary declaration of paternity (§ 7570 et seq.); (3) the conclusive paternity presumption for a nonsterile husband who cohabited with the mother at the time of conception, i.e., the presumption concerning the child of a marriage (§ 7540 et seq.; Craig L. v. Sandy S. (2004) 125 Cal.App.4th 36, 1131*1131 48 [22 Cal.Rptr.3d 606]); and (4) the Uniform Act on Blood Tests to Determine Paternity (§ 7550 et seq.).

Section 7611 integrates these statutes by stating that a "man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if he meets the conditions" (1) for a paternity judgment or conclusive presumption by filing a voluntary declaration of paternity, or (2) for a conclusive presumption of paternity over a child of a marriage, or (3) for a rebuttable presumption of fatherhood under any of section 7611's subdivisions.

Presumed fatherhood status under section 7611 entitles a man to custody of a child. (§ 3010.) "Although more than one individual may fulfill the statutory criteria that give rise to a presumption of paternity, `there can be only one presumed father.'" (In re Jesusa V. (2004) 32 Cal.4th 588, 603 [10 Cal.Rptr.3d 205, 85 P.3d 2].)

To arrange a consultation please call us with your questions and concerns relating to any Paternity issues. Attorneys from Ginzburg & Bronshteyn, APC, can be reached at 310-914-3222 from Los Angeles or 714-280- 0601 from Orange County.

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