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Paternity Matters & More

Parentage/Paternity Basic Information

In parentage cases, also called "paternity cases," the court makes orders that say who the child's legal parents are.

If parents are married when a child is born, there is usually no question about parentage. The law assumes that the married persons are the child’s legal parents, so parentage is automatically established in most cases.

But for unmarried parents, parentage of their children needs to be established legally.

In some cases, the law may also determine that a child has more than 2 legal parents.

Note: After January 1, 2005, if parents are registered domestic partners when a child is born, the law assumes that the domestic partners are the child’s parents.

What It Means to Establish Parentage

Establishing parentage means obtaining a court order or signing an official Declaration of Paternity that says who the legal parents of a child are. For example, if the parents of a child were not married when the mother became pregnant or when the child was born, the child does not have a legal father until parentage is established. So even if a father can prove he is the biological father of a child, if he was never married to the mother, he does not legally have any rights or responsibilities for the child. For that, parentage must be established legally.

This excerpt is from the official California Courts website.










 
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City of San Jose County of Santa Clara
(408) 298-3377

1376 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95116

City of Gilroy County of Santa Clara
(408) 767-2033

178 2nd Street Suite A
Gilroy, CA 95116

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