If you are a single mother, establishing paternity is essential to your California child support case. Paternity is not something that has to be established if you were married when your child was born, because it is assumed you and your husband conceived your son or daughter.

Why is paternity so important? The court cannot make any legal decisions about child support or custody without it. That's fine if you have an extraordinary relationship with the father of your child and you are able to work together and agree on everything—but most of the time, that is unrealistic.

Paternity also gives your child the same legal rights as children born to married parents which includes support from both parents, medical and life insurance, Social Security and/or veteran's benefits, inheritance rights and access to family medical history.

You can go two routes when looking to establish paternity: both parents can agree to a child's parentage and arrange for child support payments, or genetic testing can be done. If either parent has any question as to whether or not a particular man is the child's father, they can request to have tests done.

If it is unclear who the father is and one of the parents refuses to submit to genetic testing, the courts can order it. The California Department of Child Support Services notes that the courts might also look at various forms of evidence to determine paternity. The CDCSS says that information could be:

  • Details about the man's relationship with the mother
  • Money given by the man for the child
  • Admissions of fatherhood by the man
  • Letters sent or gifts given to the child by the man
  • Details about when the child was conceived
  • Information from others who knew about the man's relationship with the mother
  • Pictures of the man with the child

Regardless of support and custody, paternity is important because a child deserves to know who his or her father actually is.

If you are hoping to settle family court matters related to child support in San Francisco, call 415-341-1144 to contact the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan for a consultation.