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If parents are married, or have registered as domestic partners, when a child is born, there is usually no question about parentage. It is presumed that the husband is the father and the wife is the mother, so paternity is automatically established in most cases.

But for unmarried parents, parentage of their children needs to be established legally. Establishing parentage means getting a court order or signing an official Declaration of Paternity that says who the legal parents of a child are. Establishing parentage is necessary before custody, visitation, or child support will be ordered by a court. If a person does not admit that he or she is the parent, the court may order the party to submit to genetic testing. Once parentage has been established, each parent has an equal responsibility to support the child, and an equal right to custody of the child.

Once paternity or parentage is established, it can be difficult or impossible to undo — even if DNA/blood tests later show that the father is not the biological parent of the child.

Once paternity has been established the Court can order child supportchild custody and visitation, and health care. It is important for you to have legal representation to ensure your rights are protected. Contact Law Office of Paul A Lovrich at (408) 823-4554 if you need help with a paternity action.