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Three ways to establish paternity in California and reasons why

California families take many forms. While fewer couples elect to marry before starting a family, there are ways and good reasons to establish paternity even when parents are not legally wed. There are three ways that this can be done in this state.

The first and easiest method to legally state the paternity of a child is if the parents elect to sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity at the time of the child's birth. If this method is chosen, the hospital staff will provide the paperwork, and the father's name will be listed on the birth certificate. However, this can be delayed at the discretion of the parents. If the form is signed at a later date, the paperwork must be completed in the presence of a notary and then sent into the child support collection agency. Once this is done and the paperwork is received, a corrected birth notice can be requested, but if at some point a parent wishes to rescind this Declaration, it may be a difficult process and even DNA may not release a father from the duty of paying child support once ordered.

Another option for legally claiming parentage can be done through the child support agency. A parent can request that a biological sample be submitted for testing along with a sample from the child. This type of testing can erase any doubts as to the paternity of a child. One other method for establishing who is the biological father can be done through the court system. This process can be lengthy and requires several steps.

No matter the method used for establishing paternity, the end result is the child will have the reassurance of knowing who its biological parents are and can receive such benefits as monetary support, life and medical insurance benefits and knowledge of medical and genetic history. Parents can also use the information for seeking visitation, custody or child support. California parents who need to establish the parentage of a child may seek further information about the process from a family law professional.

Source:, "Establishing Parentage/Paternity", Accessed on Sept. 22, 2017

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