Paternity Cases in San Diego in 2012

In San Diego, test results provide definitive proof of the identity of a child’s father and are most commonly used when parents are unmarried. However, a paternity test may be requested or ordered during a divorce if either party questions paternity of a child and there is a question or issue of “access” such as military deployment during the date of conception.

There are two common ways in which a positive paternity test may be utilized. First, the finding of paternity establishes a legal obligation to contribute financially to the support of the child. The second way in which a paternity test may be used is for a father to claim parental rights, such as visitation, input in important decisions regarding the child, and even custody. Given the low cost of a DNA test today as compared to even a decade ago, this is a certain way to establish who the father is.

Should a woman worry about the outcome of a paternity test? If she is unsure of the child’s paternity, test results can be embarrassing. If the parties are married, a negative paternity test is conclusive proof of infidelity. Even though there is a presumption that a child born when the parties are married is a child of the marriage, the law provides for relief upon proper application.

A knowledgeable San Diego divorce attorney can help minimize stress and help obtain favorable outcomes in the following circumstances:

– Single mother seeking support from known father.
– Mother discreetly determining which possible father is true father.
– Divorcing wife addressing false claim of infidelity.
– Divorcing wife managing true claim of infidelity.
– Mother fearing loss of custody.
– Mother negotiating support, custody and visitation in accord with San Diego law.

Under California’s no-fault divorce law, infidelity is irrelevant as “grounds” for a divorce. Even if a divorcing spouse has proof of infidelity, the calculation of property settlements is based upon financial division of the assets and debts and not fidelity. While a divorcing spouse who is determined not to be a parent may avoid paying child support, he will also have no legal right to visitation, decision-making or custody.

Custody and visitation issues may be stressful. However, the longer the child has gone without financial support or emotional bonding with the father, the more issues may arise. However, it is especially important to have legal representation in custody cases, especially if the other party already has a lawyer.

Paternity tests can be initiated by either parent or by the court in establishing support obligations. Payment for testing may be an issue; some local testing centers offer periodic free testing or special discounts for low-income clients. Tests obtained through the court system may be at a lower cost, but providers can be slow in processing results.

It is also possible to obtain DNA test results from online sources by taking samples yourself and mailing them in. However, home test results may not be legally admissible as the identity of contributors cannot be confirmed. These tests are best used for discreetly previewing results of “official” tests or for an informal determination before proceeding with any actions.

Paternity testing will conclusively establish parenthood. For a free initial consultation about potential legal issues, contact us online or call our office at 858-312-8500.