A paternity case involves the rights of a mother and father when they have had a child (or one of them alleges that they have had a child) but are not married. The mother may bring a paternity suit to establish a man’s paternity and seek child support. Or, a man may bring a paternity suit to establish parental rights and custody over the child. Paternity suits can involve many issues and are often very emotional and contentious. Whether you are interested in DNA evidence to prove/disprove paternity, or you are interested in collecting or defending against child support payments, Lilian has the experience necessary to help achieve the results you desire. The first step is to educate yourself and gain a basic understanding of what paternity suits are and how they work.

A brief overview of paternity suits

A paternity suit may be filed any time before the child has reached the age of eighteen. California law encourages the involvement of both parents their child’s life (even if the parents are not married), and as long as you are a safe and fit parent, you have have a right to be involved in your child’s life.

There are generally three aspects to a paternity suit: (1) establishing/challenging paternity; (2) determine custody and visitation rights; (3) determine child support.

Establishing paternity

If you are pregnant or have given birth to a child and are seeking to establish paternity to gain child support, you will want to file a paternity suit and get a DNA test as soon as possible. Lilian is skilled into forcing unwilling fathers into court to take a DNA test and making them own up to the obligations they owe your child. In addition to positive DNA test results, paternity can also be established by circumstantial evidence, such as when a man takes a child into his home and holds the child out as his own.

If you are a man and seeking to establish your paternity, you can also generally go to court and seek a DNA test. The exception to this rule is when the mother is married: the husband is presumptively the child’s father and another man is not allowed to go to court to try and establish his paternity.

Challenging paternity

If you believe that you are not the father, there may be two situations where you’d be involved in a paternity suit: (1) you had originally claimed paternity (such as by signing a paternity declaration at the time of the child’s birth) and now wish to disavow it; or (2) the mother has made an accusation that you are the child’s father and you believe you are not. For the first case, it may be difficult to reverse the paternity presumption in court and you will generally need to act within a limited period of time. It is key that you receive zealous representation so that you can make an effective case in front of a judge. If the second case, you will want to get a DNA test to establish that you are not the father. In either case, Lilian, as an experienced paternity lawyer, can fight for your rights and make sure your voice is heard throughout this difficult process.

Child custody and visitation rights

Mothers of children born out of wedlock will start out with full custody of the child. A man who then establishes his paternity will typically be awarded parenting time as long as he is fit to be a parent and not abusive. If the mother is an unfit parent (or if the court believes that there is some other reason that it’s in the best interests of a child for the child to be live with the father), the court can award custody to an unmarried father.

Child support

A mother has a right to go to court and require that the biological father contribute financially to the cost of raising the child.

Why you need experienced Los Angeles paternity lawyer on your side in a paternity suit

Paternity issues, like most issues in family law, can have huge implications, both financially and emotionally. You need the advice and representation of an objective, experienced family law attorney who is committed to your interests and can guide you through the legal maze of achieving the results you desire. Lilian has extensive experience in this field and can stand up for your rights. Don’t try to face something so difficult and important on your own. Contact Lilian today at (310) 920-5810 or to schedule a free, no-obligation, and confidential consultation.