California courts hear many cases where paternity is an issue. Establishing paternity can be an important factor in protecting the rights of a child, and it can be important for other parties involved. For example, before a court will order child support, custody, or visitation, the parties must establish paternity. If you have questions about your parental right, it is important to talk to a skilled and extremely experienced Northern California lawyer.
Establishing paternity can give rise to a variety of complications and intricate issues. The California Court of Appeals recently handed down a decision, In re Jovanni B., holding that that a voluntary declaration of paternity does not guarantee presumed father status. The case arose from a Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) action where DCFS had asserted authority over a child to protect the child’s best interests. DCFS brought the case to the lower court to, among other things, establish paternity of the child.
Two men claimed to be the father. One man, named John, met the mother while she was pregnant. He participated in the childbirth, and two days after child birth signed a declaration of paternity. The mother and child lived with John after the child’s birth. However, the child’s biological father was a man named Brian, who had only visited the child a few times and under supervision of the mother. Continue reading