Paternity laws protect unmarried parents and unmarried individuals. The family law attorney at Sunnen Law in San Diego has the experience necessary to help you protect your parental rights.
Paternity Law Actions
When two parties are not married and have children, in order for the court to make custody, visitation or support orders, paternity must be established. If a child is not yet born, a voluntary declaration of paternity can be signed. Alternatively, if there is no agreement about parentage, the court can order genetic testing. It is important to recognize that each parent has rights that must be protected through the court system, and that one party does not have a unilateral final say. In many cases, a party or parties may wait years to establish paternity either based on a fear of child support repercussions or a good relationship between the parties. When such arrangements break down or cannot be established, the family court must become involved.
Like dissolutions, paternity law actions are governed by the family code as to child support and child custody. Unlike dissolutions, which are public records, paternity actions are confidential to the parties and their attorneys. No matter when a paternity action is filed or when custodial orders are needed, it is a good idea to obtain counsel to protect one's rights with their children and one's rights as to child support.
One of the most common rumors about family law in California is that common law marriage exists. In fact, there is no common law marriage in California, something that was made clear by the decision rendered in Maglica v. Maglica. In this case, the court held that under California law, even though a couple may live together and claim to be husband and wife, those actions alone do not constitute a legally recognized marriage or marriage-like union.
This means that if you are in a long-term relationship with another person and do not get married, under California law, you can expect to receive nothing when the relationship ends. However, in Marvin v. Marvin, California courts found that parties who were not married but cohabitated for years in a common-law marriage type of situation could enforce implied or express contracts that had been articulated between the parties over the years. Unlike legal separation, dissolution or paternity cases, Marvin actions always involve a complex question of facts and agreements over an extended period, which an attorney should be consulted about.
At Sunnen Law, we handle all aspects of both paternity cases and Marvin actions, including:
- Establishing child custody orders
- Modifications of pre- or post-judgment child custody orders
- Litigation before the family court at trial or prior to trial
- Establishing child support orders
- Enforcing child support orders
- Litigation as to oral or written contracts in a nonmarital cohabitant relationship
Get Legal Advice About Paternity Today!
At the end of the day, a party needs to know that their rights will be protected and what the custody and visitation schedule will be, or whether a nonmarital contract can be enforced. The goal of our firm is to make sure that you are dealt with fairly. Call us at 619-255-9551 or email us to request an in-person consultation as soon as possible.