Monday, March 08, 2010

Paternity Rights

From my weekly (AM) radio segment titled "Legal Minute"

Paternity rights are not just the stuff of celebrity tabloids. Typically, when unmarried partners have a child and then split up or when the mother of a child born out of wedlock dies, paternity is usually an issue in dispute. In California, the mother or a person claiming to be the father can file a legal action under California Paternity laws. This legal claim is designed to establish parental rights and duties such as child support, custody and visitation. Signing a child’s birth certificate does not necessarily mean that the man signing is that child’s father. Under the state’s Paternity laws, any man who is said to be the father is entitled to take a DNA blood or saliva test to confirm or deny that fact. Comparing the DNA sequence of one person to that of another can prove whether one person’s DNA was derived from the other person’s DNA. The results of the test are available in about two weeks. The alleged father is entitled to legal representation and can dispute paternity if there is a basis to do so. Child support and custody can be awarded to either the father or the mother, depending on the circumstances.