Prince’s Paternity Action

Hossein Berenji, May 15, 2016

In recent weeks, the news has been full of stories surrounding the singer Prince’s death. In the latest addition to the saga, a man has claimed that he is the late artist’s son and wants a paternity test. If the man’s relationship to the singer can be proved by clear and convincing evidence, he would stand to gain a sizable portion of Prince’s estate because there have been reports that Prince did not leave a will. Proving paternity in the distribution of Prince’s assets will likely get much more news attention.

Why is it Important to Determine Paternity?

In addition to the complications that can arise in the distribution of an estate after an individual’s death, there are many reasons as to why it is important to establish paternity. Paternity actions are typically used to determine the identity of a child’s father. The process of establishing paternity can be complicated, so it is a good idea to consult an attorney who has experience in dealing with paternity cases.

There are benefits to both parents and children in establishing paternity. For children, knowing who their father is allows them to develop a strong identity, appreciate their cultural background, and improve their relationship with both parents. Fathers also benefit from these connections. More technically, the establishment of paternity allows fathers to determine if they owe child support, whether they have the right to be notified of adoption and custody hearings involving the child and to partake in decisions in the child’s upbringing.

Establishing Paternity in California

The Courts of California allow for several ways to determine paternity. California law creates a presumptive for children born to a married husband and wife. If the husband and wife are living together and the husband is not sterile or impotent, the husband is presumed to be the father of the child. This presumption can only be rebutted by a court ordered genetic test which must be ordered no later than two years after the child’s birth.

California has a different set of standards for determining paternity when parents are unmarried. A hospital employee will give a form to the man that the mother of the child identifies as the father of the child. The form is voluntary, but if the man signs it  has the same effect as a court order.

Who can Establish Paternity?

In California, only certain people can request a paternity test or challenge paternity. These people are limited to the husband, the child, the child’s mother and any parent who is presumed to be the parent of the child. The California law on who is a presumed parent is very detailed. The family code outlines many examples of what qualifies as a presumed parent. It is available here.

How can We Help with Your Los Angeles Paternity Action?

Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers has 20 years of combined experience helping families in Los Angeles with paternity cases. It does not matter if you are trying to establish paternity or fighting a paternity action, our lawyers have the experience to help you win your case.