Unmarried Parents: Establishing Paternity, Child Support and Custody

You want the best for your children, whether that is ensuring that you have time with them or that they have the financial support they need to thrive. In any case, this is too important to handle on your own. Turn to the Law Offices of Fredrick S. Cohen, a Sacramento law firm serving parents throughout Northern California.

Attorney Fredrick S. "Rick" Cohen is certified as a Family Law Specialist by the California State Bar's Board of Legal Certification. He leverages 25-plus years of experience combined with a passion for serving the community to help clients successfully navigate emotional family law matters. Your children are important to you, and they are important to him.

Establishing Paternity

When parents are married, any child born is presumed to belong to the married couple. The law is not so simple for unmarried parents. You must legally establish paternity/parentage through a Court Order or a signed Declaration of Paternity. This is true even if you agree on who the biological father is.

  1. Voluntary Declaration of Paternity: This is the simplest way to establish paternity for parents who agree on it. Both parents must voluntarily sign the form and file it with the California Department of Child Support Services.
  2. Court Order: When paternity is disputed, you will need to obtain a Court Order by filing a case under the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA). The court may require one or both parents to undergo a genetic test or a father could request the test. The court will then make a determination based on the evidence.

Paternity must be decided before a court can make a child support or child custody and visitation order. In other words, establishing parentage is necessary for a father to be granted visitation rights and for a child to receive financial support. Through paternity, a child receives important rights and privileges, including the rights to financial support, legal documentation, medical records, health insurance and inheritance.

Determining Child Support And Custody

Once paternity is established, then the court can order child support and custody. The court will look at the best interests of the child in determining how much time each parent should have with the child. From there, child support is a calculation that looks at the number of children, how much income each parent makes and the time each parent spends with the child. To estimate how much child support you or the other parent will pay, please use the California payment estimator and speak with a lawyer.

Contact The Firm

Please complete our online contact form or call 916-925-7177 to discuss your parentage, child support or custody case with the Law Offices of Fredrick S. Cohen.