Paternity refers to the legal determination of who is the biological father of a child. While the identity of a child’s biological mother is usually known, the father’s identity may not always be as certain. Paternity issues often arise in cases involving child support, but they can also be important in relation to adoption, inheritance, custody and visitation, health care, and other issues.

Legal matters relating to paternity testing, child custody and visitation rights for fathers are often emotional and contentious. Whether you need help legally compelling a person to take a DNA test or want to reverse a voluntary declaration of paternity you signed, it’s important to choose an attorney with whom you feel comfortable.

Paternity Law and Children

Like all legal matters, paternity law can become extremely complex, particularly when custody and child support are primary issues at this emotional time. When you enlist the services of Feinberg & Waller, APC you will be working closely with our lawyers on some emotional and important issues. We have years of experience and a strong dedication to each client.

Paternity issues involving children are typically very sensitive, even when there isn’t a custody dispute. From child support arrangements to child visitation agreements, there are a number of matters that need to be taken into consideration. Most importantly, the well-being of the children needs to be the top priority for both parents. As a law firm committed 100% to Southern California family law, we can help you work through these issues to the best possible outcome for your children.

DNA profiling is a major breakthrough in paternity testing. In a DNA test, the scientist examines the genetic material that the child inherited from his or her biological parents. First, the child’s genetic characteristics are compared to those of the mother. The characteristics in the child that are not found in the mother are determined to have come from the father. If the man being tested does not have these genetic characteristics in his DNA, he can be scientifically excluded. If he does, the probability of his paternity is calculated. DNA testing can establish a father’s paternity with over ninety-nine percent accuracy and can also be done even before the child is born. Along these lines, DNA testing is generally done only when a party contests paternity allegations. For instance, the putative (or alleged) father in a paternity action, that is the basis for child support, may require proof that he is the child’s father before he consents to payment of support. In other situations, the mother may contest the putative father’s paternity, such as when a man attempts to gain custody of, or visitation with, a child he believes to be his.

In contrast, paternity may also be established by circumstantial evidence, such as when a man takes a child into his home and holds the child out to the public as his own. A married man is presumed to be the father of a baby born to his wife during or shortly after their marriage as well. Once paternity is established by DNA or circumstantial evidence, the father may be ordered to pay child support for his child. A father who is not married to the child’s mother generally will not be awarded custody of the child if the mother is providing reasonable care, but he may receive preference over third parties, such as grandparents or prospective adoptive parents.

We Are Prepared to Help You With Paternity Matters

Paternity issues, like most family law issues, can have far-reaching implications, both financially and emotionally. It is important when faced with these issues to seek the counsel of an objective, experienced lawyer who can guide clients through the legal maze of these difficult, emotionally charged issues.

Our team is fully familiar with paternity law, including issues involving marriage and domestic partnerships. Contact us to discuss your specific circumstances. We know that paternity issues can become complex and can involve out-of-state custody proceedings and international laws, including the Hague Convention.