Beverly Hills Paternity Lawyer

Beverly Hills Paternity LawyerIf you’re struggling with a paternity issue in Beverly Hills, CA, our experienced lawyers at Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers are here to help. Paternity matters can be complex and highly sensitive. It’s critical to have an experienced Beverly Hills paternity lawyer by your side to help you navigate the legal issues in the most favorable manner possible.

Our team consists of knowledgeable and compassionate legal professionals who are dedicated to helping clients like you get results. Our lawyers have over 25 years of experience handling family law matters in Southern California. We’re prepared to put our skills to work for you.

Establishing paternity is important–both for you and your children. Contact our law offices in Beverly Hills, California,  at (310) 271-6290 to schedule a free consultation today.

How Can Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers Help With My Paternity Issues in Beverly Hills?

How Can Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers Help With My Paternity Issues in Beverly Hills?Raising a child can be extremely rewarding. Of course, in today’s day and age, there are countless ways to be involved in a child’s upbringing. Still, only two parties can be named as a child’s legal parents–and legal parents have rights and responsibilities that others do not.

The paternity determination can change your family’s life forever. Our award-winning Beverly Hills family lawyers at Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers know that. You can count on us to give your case the attention it deserves.

Our lawyers are proud of the services we provide. We’ve recently been named a Top-Rated Family Law Attorney by Super Lawyers. We’ve also earned a perfect-10 Avvo rating.

When you hire our team, expect us to:

  • Explain the law and how it impacts your situation
  • Identify all avenues for resolving your issues
  • Facilitate mediation to resolve issues without court intervention if possible
  • Handle all paperwork and legal filings
  • Advocate for you in court if necessary

Whether you are seeking paternity or disputing paternity, you need a qualified Beverly Hills family law attorney in your corner. We’re here to offer the best solutions possible, so call today for a consultation.

Paternity Laws in California: An Overview

You may be a child’s legal mother or father under California law if any of the following are true:

  • You are the child’s birth parent
  • You were married or in a domestic partnership with the mother at the time of the child’s birth
  • Both parties agree on parentage
  • A judge issues an order naming you the child’s parent

While establishing parentage through DNA testing may seem straightforward, paternity cases typically involve complex issues. In cases involving same-sex couples, one party may be the child’s biological parent.

 Neither party may share the child’s DNA. Even when two biological parents are involved, issues involving child custody, visitation, and child support must be resolved.

Why Is Establishing Paternity of a Child Important in California?

Establishing paternity is important–both for the parents and the child. A paternity determination creates certain rights and responsibilities. Of course, all decisions regarding child custody and visitation ultimately center around the child’s best interests. A declaration of paternity does not automatically give either parent the right to child custody.

Still, legal parenthood has many benefits for parents, including:

  • The right to request visitation and child custody
  • Access the child’s personal information, including medical information in an emergency
  • Making important decisions about the child’s upbringing
  • The right to seek financial support from the other parent

Paternity determinations can also benefit the child. Many legal rights only apply in situations where a person is legally acknowledged as a person’s child.

For example, children may benefit from:

  • Health insurance benefits offered by either parent’s employer
  • The right to inherit from either parent in the absence of a will
  • The right to collect Disability, Social Security, and veteran’s benefits if the father dies or becomes disabled

Formally determining paternity is critical for a family to take advantage of any of these benefits. You don’t want to leave these important issues to chance. Contact our family law firm in Beverly Hills today and get the legal advice you deserve.

How Can I Establish Paternity of a Child in Beverly Hills?

There are several different ways to establish paternity in Beverly Hills, including:

Presumption of Paternity

In California, paternity may be presumed in some cases. For example, a man who is married to the child’s mother at the time of birth is presumed to be the father. 

A man who marries the child’s mother after birth can also be presumed father if he:

  • Has his name put on the birth certificate, or
  • Agrees to support the child financially 

A concept called “parentage by estoppel” is also recognized in California. Courts can determine that a person is a child’s legal parent even if they are not the biological parent. That’s true if the individual has always treated the child as if they were his or her own. 

DNA Testing

DNA testing can now be used to prove that you are the child’s birth parent. The California Department of Child Support Services can perform the DNA testing, typically without charge. However, if a judge orders the presumptive father to submit to DNA testing, it can get expensive.

It’s also important to know that home DNA tests and DNA tests completed in private medical facilities will not be sufficient to establish paternity. Your lawyer can ensure that any DNA test complies with the requirements established by California courts.

DNA testing is very non-invasive. It’s typically accomplished by using a cotton swab to obtain the parties’ saliva, which is DNA-tested. However, some facilities will refuse to test newborn babies. If you have any questions about the DNA testing process, consulting a lawyer is the best way to ensure that the results will be respected by the courts.

Voluntary Declaration of Paternity

If a man and woman agree to parentage, the couple completes a form called a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDOP). There is no cost for using the form, and there is no need for court intervention.

Typically, this form is signed at the hospital when the child is born. However, if an unmarried couple agrees, they can simply fill out the form at a later date. 

The parties can sign the form at certain locations in front of a government official, including a:

The VDOP can also be obtained privately and signed in front of a notary.

Regardless of when the VDOP is completed, the parents must file it with the California Department of Child Support Services. Once filed, the state will issue a new birth certificate listing both parties as the child’s legal parents.

VDOPs can be used when each party is the child’s genetic parent. VDOPs can also be used if you and your spouse used a sperm or egg donor. However, VDOPs generally cannot be used in cases involving surrogacy.

Court Intervention

When paternity is disputed, two parties can have the courts determine the child’s legal parents. In adoption cases, the court will clearly be involved and name the child’s legal parents once the adoption is finalized.

However, if you are not married and the other parent refuses to sign a VDOP, you must establish paternity through the courts.

At the most basic level, resolving a paternity case in California courts requires:

  • Completing a Petition to Determine a Parental Relationship, which begins the case
  • Notifying the other process via a summons, which requests a response
  • Obtaining a final order from the court

Additional paperwork will likely be required as the case proceeds, especially when parentage is contested. The court may order a man to submit to genetic testing to determine paternity. When a same-sex couple requests the court to determine paternity, the case can be much more complex.

Regardless of the circumstances, establishing paternity in court always requires the assistance of an experienced Beverly Hills paternity attorney. If your family is struggling with issues involving paternity, contact Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers today. 

How Will Establishing Paternity Impact My Child Custody Rights in California?

Once paternity is established, you can petition the courts for child custody. You’ll have all of the same rights and responsibilities as any parent who was recognized as a legal parent from day one.

In any child custody case, the judge will consider multiple factors in determining the child’s best interests. Those factors include the child’s health, safety, and welfare, the amount of contact the child has had with the other parent, and any other relevant factors. 

It’s important to remember that a judge may be reluctant to modify the current custody arrangement in situations where a parent did not know he was the child’s father and thus has not been involved in the child’s life. Instead, visitation may be the only option until you get to know your child.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With an Experienced Beverly Hills Paternity Lawyer Who Can Help

Paternity cases are often challenging and emotionally charged. Whether you’re petitioning for a determination of paternity or contesting parentage, let our Beverly Hills paternity lawyer protect your family through the process. Call Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers at (310) 271-6290 today to learn more about how our team can help.