How to Legally Obtain a Paternity Test

Family Law

It happens.  Sometimes we do not know who the biological father of a child is.  It is important information. Paternity effects health issues, as well as the socioeconomic ones.  

Enter the paternity test.  It is not like the old days of enormous expense, blood tests, lost samples and waiting forever for the lab to get back to you.  It is quick, painless (usually just a quick mouth swab) and inexpensive or free.  

You can initiate a test if you want to confirm paternity for custody and support purposes.  The state Department of Child Support Services can demand a test as well, as part of the process to establish, collect and enforce child support so the child can have the best life possible. 

Timeline for Requesting a Paternity Test

Unmarried parents may seek a paternity test during the first two years after the child’s birth. Married parents are presumed under the law that the husband or spouse is the father of a child born during the marriage.  This is also true of same sex marriages.

How to File for a Paternity Test

If you choose to establish paternity,  you file a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (FL-200), a Summons (FL-210), and a Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (FL-105). After the case is filed and served, you can ask for a DNA test.  When the results return, the court can enter a custody plan and a support order, if required.

Paternity Test Myths

Merely writing a name on the birth certificate does not establish paternity.  There must also be a declaration of paternity from the father or spouse. The declaration can, and usually is, provided by the hospital when the baby is born.  

You cannot cheat a legal paternity test.  The samples are given under supervision and immediately sealed and sent to the lab.  

The test is almost never wrong.  If it is, it is a false positive and another test is given.  Even then, the error is almost always traceable to human error.  

If you are seeking a paternity test, it’s important to know your rights before filing. JWB Family Law has a team of legal experts ready to help you through the process. Contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation to get the advice you need.

The Importance of the CFLS Designation

A Certified Family Law Specialist, or CFLS, is an attorney who has obtained certification in the standards of California family law and demonstrated optimal legal competence. Attorneys who obtain this certification have specific expertise in all aspects of family law, which includes divorce or the dissolution of marriagechild and spousal support, child custody, and temporary restraining orders, among other areas of emphasis.

Not every attorney practicing family law has obtained this certification. In fact, the designation remains relatively rare—there are fewer than 2,000 CFLS attorneys in California and fewer than 200 in San Diego.

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