Santa Rosa Paternity Lawyer

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Every parent should have a right to be as much a part of their child’s life as they are able and as would be best for the child. Paternity cases most often precede child custody proceedings. Unfortunately, establishing legal paternity can be difficult, especially for biological fathers.

Taking paternity action in Santa Rosa, CA can be a complicated process. If you are the parent of a child and are trying to establish legal parentage to help with visitation and custody for your child, it is essential that you work with a qualified family law attorney.

Santa Rosa Paternity Lawyer

Paternity Representation in Santa Rosa, CA

The team at the Carroll Law Office has an established reputation as a community leader in family law representation throughout Santa Rosa. We have helped many parents through their respective court proceedings as they navigate paternity rights.

We understand the potential legal challenges facing fathers and other parents who are trying to establish legal parentage. Our firm can help you organize and provide the proper evidence and documentation necessary to assert your rights.

If you are trying to regain contact with or rights to a child of yours, partner with a qualified and skilled Santa Rosa family lawyer as soon as possible.

What Is Paternity?

Paternity, also known legally as parentage, refers to a child’s legal parents. There are many types of people who would qualify as legal parents in dependency court, even those who are not biologically related to the child.

During the first court hearing of a dependency court case, the court will ask the first parent if there are any others who could legally qualify as a parent to the child. The court would then send a notice to that person concerning future hearings.

Generally, those who would claim legal paternity over a child, other than the biological mother, would be categorized into one of three groups:

  • Alleged parent. You are an alleged parent if either the mother has informed the court or social worker that you are the parent or if you inform the court at the first hearing that you are the parent.As an alleged parent, you have the right to receive notices of future hearings and the right to prove presumed paternity. Alleged parents are given no other rights, custody, reunification services, or special considerations.
  • Biological father. If you have a judgment of paternity from a family law court or a DNA test demonstrating that you are the father of the child, you will be classified as the biological father.You will have the right to receive notices of future hearings, the right to prove presumed paternity, as well as the right to reunification services and special considerations for you and your family when the matter of where your child will live is being decided.
  • Presumed parent. Presumed parents have the most legal rights to the child. You are the presumed parent if either your name is on the child’s birth certificate, there is a family court order establishing your parental relationship, or you have raised the child as your own.Presumed parents have the right to reunification services, visitation, custody of their child, and special consideration for their family.

Why Establishing Paternity Is Important

Establishing paternity is beneficial for both the father and the mother as well as for the child themselves. Gaining legal paternity of a child is necessary if a father wishes, for example, to fight for custody or visitation rights. It is also necessary, particularly for a mother in many cases, to establish paternity to secure child support. For the child, in addition to allowing them to build an emotional tie with both parents and their families, proper paternity grants them access to important family history, such as medical records.

FAQs About Santa Rosa, CA Paternity Laws

Can a Mother Deny a Father Access?

No. California family law provides equal parentage rights to each legal parent of a child. When making determinations of custody and visitation rights, the court will decide what it deems is in the interest of the child. This means that a mother cannot deny a father access to her child by herself. The court would have to make that legal determination based on other reasons for a father to be denied access to his child.

How Long Does a Father Have to Be Absent to Lose His Rights in California?

A father can involuntarily lose his parental rights under certain circumstances, including what is known as abandonment. In California, if a parent has not had contact with their child in at least six months, making no effort to contact them or assert their parental rights, then they would forfeit their rights to custody or visitation. They would not, however, invalidate their responsibility to provide child support.

Does the Biological Father Have Rights If He Is Not on the Birth Certificate in California?

Yes. Even if the biological father is not the legally presumed parent of the child, California family law affords a biological father certain rights. These include:

  • Rights to reunification services to help get the child back into your care
  • The right to notice of any hearings
  • Special considerations when the child’s living situation is being decided by a social worker

You may also opt to prove presumed paternity to gain custody, visitation, and support rights.

How Does a Father Establish Legal Paternity in California?

In California, a father can open a parentage case to have a family law court provide a judgment of paternity. You can present several different forms of evidence as proof, including a DNA test if you are the biological parent or evidence demonstrating that you have lived with the conviction that the child is your own, raising and providing care for the child already.

Partner With a Santa Rosa Paternity Lawyer Today

Establishing paternity is an essential and life-changing step for a parent, their child, and the family as a whole. Ensuring that you maintain the legal rights to have a relationship with someone you love is vital, particularly with children. Speaking with an experienced paternity lawyer, like those at the Carroll Law Office, is the most effective way to ensure that you are able to properly establish parentage and its subsequent rights. Contact our office to discuss the details of your case.


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