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Do I Need to Establish Paternity to Pursue Child Support in California?

Our San Bernardino Certified Family Law Specialist at the Law Office of Joyce Holcomb knows that raising kids is not free. In fact, U.S. News and World Report lists, based on the most recent data, it costs an average of $290,014 to raise a child — and that does not include the college years and beyond.

Certainly, that figure will vary based on income, expenses, and any special needs a child might have. The reality is, shouldering the cost of raising children can add a substantial amount of pressure to an already tough job.

That is doubly true for single parents. If you are raising a child on your own and would like to pursue the father for child support, you may have to establish paternity first.

Here is what single moms throughout California need to know about their options.

How to Establish Paternity in California

When a child is born to married parents, paternity is implied. That means the husband is automatically listed as the father on the birth certificate, alongside the mother.

If the couple divorces, child custody, and child support will be determined during the proceedings.

However, if you and your child’s father were never married, or the male does not believe he is the biological parent, you will need to establish paternity before you can pursue child support.

That can happen in one of two ways:

  • Sign a voluntary declaration of paternity.

Unmarried parents may sign a voluntary declaration of paternity acknowledging that the man is the child’s father. This document is legally binding and provides the father with all the same legal rights and responsibilities as the mother — which includes child custody and support obligations.

  • Get a court order for a DNA test.

If there is a question about who the child’s father is, or if the purported father is denying his relationship with the child, the mother may pursue a court order that requires the individual to submit to a DNA test to determine parentage

Can I Pursue Child Support After Establishing Paternity in California?

In California, both biological parents are required to financially support their children.

The custodial parent provides support in the form of shelter, clothing, and food, while the non-custodial parent pays child support.

If you have successfully established paternity, you can immediately pursue child support, and we can help.

Contact Our Skilled San Bernardino Divorce Attorney Today for a Free Consultation 

If you are the custodial parent who is raising a child in California, contact our San Bernardino County Certified Family Law Specialist at the Law Office of Joyce Holcomb by calling (909) 889-7111 today to discuss establishing paternity, so you can pursue the financial support you and your child need to move forward with confidence.

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