Paternity Issues

Paternity Issues

Either parent is able to dispute paternity. Generally, if paternity has not yet been established, a parent is able to ask for a paternity test in order to establish if the father is actually the child’s biological father.


Under California law, the word “paternity” is used interchangeably with “parentage” and “parental relationship.” Laws regarding paternity are complicated. For example, if a court order has already determined someone is the father of the child, and he or the mother of the child wants genetic (DNA) testing, it might be too late to do so, due to the court order. A court order might also determine someone to be the legal father despite the genetic test proving he is not the biological father.

Paternity Assumption

Establishing paternity means either the courts or parents of the child have determined who the father is. The law assumes paternity under these instances:

  • the husband of the mother is presumed to be the child’s father when the child is born during a marriage.
  • if a man has been living with the child and the mother in a “family-like” manner, the man has demonstrated he is committed to the child, and even if he is not the biological father, he is still presumed to be the child’s father.

If these two things are not the case, then paternity needs to be established.

Paternity Testing

Establishing paternity is helpful when it comes to providing financial support and health insurance for the child. it’s also important to establish paternity if there are ever legal issues surrounding child support and child visitation. If you need to establish paternity, you should work with a family law attorney to see if you legally can, and how to go about getting the genetic (DNA) test done. For advice on paternity, you need the expert law firm of (619) DIVORCE, APC. Schedule a consultation today.

Child Support

, and you receive a petition for child support, you respond appropriately.

Receiving a Child Support Petition

Once you receive a child support petition, you must follow the instructions on that petition. This often means you will need to appear in court on a specific date. During the court hearing, a judge will examine your income, the other parent’s income, how much time the child spends with each parent, as well as any special circumstances regarding daycare or medical expenses, and then determine how much you will pay in child support.

Child Support Hearing

To prepare for the child support hearing, you need to put together and bring the following to court: evidence of your income and any other court requested documents. If you do not believe you are the father of the child, and you have not been legally stated as the father, you are able to request a paternity test. If this request is accepted, the child will need to submit to the test before you are required to make child support payments.

Failure to Appear or Pay

If you do not appear at the child support hearing or do not make child support payments as ordered by the court, then the court can take measures to collect the unpaid payments. This might mean garnishing your wages, suspension of your driver’s license, or over legal actions, such as jail time and fines.


Co-parenting can be very difficult - especially if you are not fond of the person you are expected to co-parent with. This means you’ll have to learn how to put the best interests of your children above your own, as well as learning how to form an amicable relationship, perhaps for the first time, with your ex. While you don’t necessarily have to become best friends, you’ll have to forge a happy medium and find how you can make the co-parenting relationship work. Here are some steps you can follow: Step One is to Realize Only You Are Able to Control You In order to create a co-parenting relationship, you must first realize the only person you can control is yourself. You don’t have any power over your ex, so don’t even both trying. If you can accept this fact and are able to control your own emotions and actions, you’ll have an easier time developing a co-parenting relationship. Hopefully, your example will carry over to your ex-spouse. Step Two is to Set Boundaries The next step you must learn in order to create a successful co-parenting relationship is how to set boundaries. Here are a few do’s and don’t’s to help you get started. Don’t:

  • Sabotage the relationship your child has with their other parent.
  • Use your child as a pawn to hurt or get back at your ex.
  • Permit your child to speak badly when talking about the other parent.
  • Use your child to get information, manipulate, and/or influence your ex.
  • Transfer onto your child your hurt feelings and/or frustrations toward your ex.
  • Force your child to choose a side while scheduling conflicts occur.
  • Put pressure on your child.
  • Depend on your child for companionship or support too much when dealing with your divorce. Your child isn’t your therapist.
  • Become so emotionally needy your child begins to feel guilty about spending time with others. You would hate to discover they didn’t participate in social outings due to the fact they were afraid you weren’t able to deal with being alone.

Bottom line: Your child should not be burdened with situations they aren’t able to control. You shouldn’t saddle your children with your issues and emotional needs. Doing so will only create feelings of being helpless and insecure which could cause them to doubt their own abilities and strengths. It’s not their responsibility to hold you together and they shouldn’t feel it is. Children aren’t able to understand and deal with problems of adults and shouldn’t have to. Their focus should be on their own development, and your’s should be, too. Do’s:

  • Sit down with your ex and create a plan whereby differences are set aside so the focus can be put on meeting the needs of your children you will be co-parenting.
  • Negotiate how to handle holidays, visitations, and events.
  • Create guidelines for the behavior of raising your children that each of you will adhere to. Children need consistency in their lives without regard as to which parent they’re with. This includes bed-times, phone privileges, etc. A child will frequently test situations and try to manipulate their boundaries. You and your ex must present a united front.
  • Negotiate the roles of extended family members.
  • Establish open communication with respect to the development of your child. This includes the ability to compare notes on situations and jointly deciding on any punishment.
  • While it may be painful emotionally, you and your ex must decide to inform each other of any changes in circumstances of their life. Your child shouldn’t be the source of “breaking news.”
  • Determine that you’ll conduct yourself with emotional integrity and maturity.

What Your Child Needs the Most

Putting your child’s needs first, there are certain things they’ll need during this time: structure, acceptance, assurance of their safety, freedom from blame or guilt that they were responsible for their parent’s divorce, two stable parents, and the freedom and permission to just be a kid and have fun.

Co-Parent Schedule Arrangements

Guidelines are important for your emotional health, as well as to help define aspects of your co-parenting relationship. This is why schedules are important. Not necessarily a weekly one, but one that involves events and holidays. This schedule should be agreed on far in advance so that co-parents know what parent the child will be spending Christmas and other holidays with in order to avoid fights during the holidays. These agreements don’t have to be formal, but if they’re in writing it makes it harder to argue about. Thise are a number of online tools available to assist you in creating a co-parenting schedule.

Always Be Flexible

While it’s important to set arrangements, you need to be sensitive to your child’s needs, which means being flexible. If your child really wants to have a night with dad instead of mom, then it might be best for your child to do it. This is a difficult time your kids are trying to adapt to. You should encourage them to be honest when it comes to their emotions. You also should be sensitive to your child emotions, which often means putting your own emotions aside.

Create a Co-Parent Relationship