Reasons for requesting a paternity test vary from a paternity dispute to seeking visitation with your child. There are a few important steps needed to begin the process to establish or dispute parentage in the California family courts. You will first need to file a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship to request an order for a paternity test from the family court. The form will then need to be served on the other party.
Once the court approves the Petition to Establish Parental Relationship, the next step is to take the paternity test in a court-approved medical facility. The physical test to gather DNA is simple and painless. A lab tech at the medical facility will take a saliva sample of the father. In most cases, only the child and the presumed father are required to submit samples. The father needs to submit a sample in person at a center where he will be required to provide a positive ID. The child is allowed to submit a sample by mail. Typically, the result of this genetic test is ready in less than a week.
In the cases where the father is deceased, other blood-related family members could be tested to prove paternity. These types of cases can be complicated and will benefit from the representation of a California family law attorney with experience in child custody matters.
Rights and Responsibilities After a Paternity Test
Once an individual person is established as the father of the child, he will have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent. This includes the right to request custody and visitation orders from the court so that he or she can legally visit with his child.
Establishing parentage is necessary before custody, visitation or child support will be ordered by a court. You can also ask the judge in family court for child support or custody and visitation orders as part of your case.
It is important to understand that once parentage is established, you will be responsible for paying child support and will have to pay half of the uninsured health-care costs for your child. It is a crime for a legal parent to fail to support his or her child. The court may also order that you pay for half of the child-care costs that result from the custodial parent getting or having a job or going to school.
In the event that parentage is established, you may ask the court to be reimbursed by the other party. Speak with a California law attorney to discuss your rights and responsibilities based on the results of your paternity test.