Articles Posted in Paternity

Generally, when a party files a paternity action, it is because the child’s mother and purported father disagree over the child’s parentage. In some instances, though, both parties will acknowledge a child’s paternity and will file legal documents stating as such. While they have the right to do so, such documents should not be entered into lightly as they can be difficult to set aside, as illustrated in a recent California paternity case. If you need assistance establishing or disputing a child’s paternity, it is in your best interest to speak to a San Diego paternity attorney to assess your options.

History of the Case

It is alleged that the father signed a voluntary declaration of parentage in 2007 after the birth of a child with his ex-wife. In 2020, the Los Angeles County Child Support Services Department initiated legal action to obtain a child support order from the father for the child. In response, the father filed an application to set aside the Parentage Declaration he signed years ago.

Reportedly, the father claimed that his request to set aside the declaration was based on numerous grounds, including fraud, material mistake of fact, his own mistake, and the failure of the hospital to adequately explain the form he signed. He also alleged that he was not the child’s biological father and offered DNA test results in support of his assertion. The Trial Court denied the father’s application, and he appealed. Continue reading

California is unique in that it allows for three people to be deemed the parents of a child. For example, a child may have a mother and two fathers. Simply because a person is entitled to status as the presumed father of a child does not mean they should be granted parental rights, though. Recently, a California court discussed the factors evaluated in determining whether to grant a party third-parent status in an opinion issued in a matter in which a child’s biological father sought custody rights. If you need assistance with a custody matter, it is advisable to confer with a knowledgeable San Diego child custody lawyer to determine your options for seeking a just outcome.

The History of the Case

It is reported that in 2015, the mother had two romantic relationships that overlapped: one with the third-party father and one with the father. She became pregnant and advised the third-party father that he was not the father of the child, based on the information from her doctor regarding the date of conception. The father signed a voluntary declaration of parentage and was listed on the child’s birth certificate. She later married the father.

Allegedly, a few years later, the mother determined that the third-party father was the biological father of her child, which was confirmed via DNA testing. She permitted the third-party father to visit with the child on a few occasions but later advised him she did not believe it was in the child’s best interest for them to form a relationship. The third-party father filed a petition to establish a third-party parent relationship with the child. The court denied the petition, and the third-party father appealed.

Factors Weighed in Determining Whether to Grant Third-Party Rights Continue reading

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 The following questions have arisen during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic regarding Child Custody and Visitation and San Diego Presiding Judge Alksne has provided the following answers.

Q:  Does the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic and related orders of the Governor, to reduce the spread of the virus, cause a child custody and visitation order to be modified or altered?

A:  All child custody and visitation orders from the court remain in full force and effect until and unless modified by the court.

google-post02a-300x225Divorce can shatter a family into millions of pieces. Even though it comes as a huge blow for both parents involved in a divorce, it is the toughest on the children. Because divorce can affect children in ways that are difficult to comprehend; it is essential that divorce matters such as child support, custody, and visitation are handled properly to reduce the stress of divorce.

Divorce, in the majority of cases, is something couples consider as a last resort. Troubled marriages are hard to deal with and can affect the mental health of both parties. Even though many couples try to work out their troubled marriages for the well-being of their children, there comes a time when divorce becomes inevitable.

Winning the Child Custody Case with A Divorce Attorney

Trust the lawyers at The Law Offices of Doppelt and Forney, APLC to assist you in your divorce, legal separation or paternity case in San Diego County. During the free consultation, we will provide you with legal analysis and potential techniques to help you obtain your legal goals and protect your rights. We represent clients in family law court in all of the court houses in San Diego County including downtown, Vista, Chula Vista and El Cajon. Our firm assists with the preparation of all pleadings and court appearances as necessary including the family resolution conferences. We also handle post judgment motions including motions for modification of child and spousal support and the parenting plan as well as motions to set aside the judgment and enforcement of the judgment, among many other services.

To fully understand our range of services and how we could help you in your San Diego divorce case, call us today to schedule a free consultation.

Once the divorce is final, you and your ex-spouse will have figured out how to handle things such as child custody and visitation, child support and spousal support. But what do you do until then?

Most divorce cases require the parties to address and resolve many challenging issues, such as the division of marital property, spousal support, and other financial matters. But it is important to realize that each case (and each family) is different. Some spouses disagree over child custody and visitation, while others may see eye to eye on matters of physical and legal custody. Because of the unique nature of each divorce, parties contemplating the end of their marriage are encouraged to consult with a highly experienced San Diego family law attorney who will know the best way to approach each individual case.

A recent California divorce garnering national attention involves the fate of the couple’s frozen embryos. According to a news article, Dr. Mimi Lee and her husband Stephen Findley were married five years ago. Just prior to the wedding, Lee found out that she had breast cancer, and the couple decided to create and freeze five embryos. Findley filed for divorce two years ago and sought to have the embryos destroyed, in accordance with the consent agreement the parties signed prior to engaging in the reproductive technology.
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Child custody issues typically arise within the confines of a divorce or legal separation proceeding. But couples who have never married and have a child together could still face legal obstacles if they separate and cannot agree to a parenting plan governing child custody or visitation. In such a situation, there could also be matters of paternity to address. California family law dictates in large measure the procedures to follow when trying to sort through any custody and visitation issue. Fortunately, an experienced San Diego family law attorney can help parents resolve any legal issues resulting from a divorce or related proceeding.

California, like many states in the country, has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, widely known as the “UCCJEA.” It is codified at section 3400 et seq, and it sets forth when a state court has jurisdiction to render an initial child custody determination. While the statutory provisions may appear to be somewhat straightforward, there are times when the court must intervene to interpret the language, depending on the particular circumstances or facts before the court. A good example of this is a recent case where the California appellate court was called upon to resolve a dispute between two parents over the custody of their very young child.
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Child support is an important part of most family law cases involving minor children. Courts will order child support not only in divorce cases, but in paternity actions as well. Section 3900 of the California family code governs child support and provides, in part, that both the mother and father of a minor child have an equal responsibility to support their child. The code further provides that this obligation continues generally until the child completes 12th grade or attains the age of 19 years, whichever occurs first. But in many cases, one parent may not be satisfied with the child support order and file an objection with the court. There are important legal concepts at play in any child support case. If you are involved in a divorce or paternity matter, it is important to contact an experienced family law attorney from the local San Diego area, someone who can help sort through the myriad issues with ease and confidence.

In a recent California child support case, a couple lived together and had two children but never married. When they separated, the couple stipulated to a paternity action judgment, which set forth the father’s paternity, his visitation rights, and a monthly monetary child support payment to be made to the mother, who was awarded physical custody of the kids. A bit later on, the couple reconciled and the father moved into the residence where the mother and children had been living. But after nine months, the father moved out. The court was asked to determine a matter of first impression in the state: whether a father can obtain any credit for actual, in-the-home child support he afforded the children during the nine-month period he lived with them and their mother?
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California law provides a means by which one may establish the existence of a parent/child relationship. As is relevant to the case described below, under former Section 7611 of the Uniform Parentage Act, a man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if (among other things) he and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other, and the child is born during the marriage. That presumption may be “rebutted,” and another man may be deemed the father. The interplay of California’s laws relating to matters of marriage, divorce, and questions of paternity is complicated and can affect many serious issues such as child support and other related factors. If you are facing a divorce or questions concerning paternity, you are encouraged to contact an experienced San Diego family law attorney who can help to protect your rights.

The law allows for an “interested party” to bring an action at any time to determine the existence or nonexistence of a parental relationship. In a recent case, the trial court ruled that the mother’s petition to establish a relationship between her son and a man other than her husband (referred herein as “P”) was untimely filed. Here, the mother separated from her husband, who lives in the Philippines, in 2006. In February 2008, she began a relationship with a married man. Later that year, in November, the mother gave birth to “H.” Interestingly enough, her husband’s name was listed on the birth certificate and baptismal invitations as the child’s father. Despite this, while the other man established and maintained a relationship with H since he was born, he never publicly or openly acknowledged that H was his son and ended the relationship with the child when the couple stopped seeing one another.

In July 2011, when the couple’s relationship ended, the mom filed a paternity action to establish a relationship between H and P, seeking not only a declaration that P was H’s father but also child support. P denied that he was the father and asked the court to declare that her husband, whom she never divorced, was H’s presumed father. Even though the trial court ruled that the Code’s conclusive presumption did not apply because the husband was not living with the mom when the child was conceived or born, it refused to order genetic testing under that section of the statute. Further, the trial court characterized the mom’s action as an effort to establish the non-existence of a parent relationship between her husband and H, and ruled that it was untimely because it was not brought within a “reasonable time” under the law.
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It is important to establish paternity or “parentage” of a child for many reasons. For instance, paternity entitles a child to assorted rights and privileges that most people take for granted, such as knowing who your parents are, and having access to family medical records as well as financial support. Under California law, proof of paternity is required before a court will order custody, visitation or child support. The law identifies circumstances under which a person, who was not married to the mother at the time of conception or birth of the child, can establish paternity. People who are confronting child custody and/or related paternity issues are encouraged to contact a local San Diego family law attorney with experience handling such matters.

Establishing paternity becomes even more complicated when there is a sperm donor involved. In a widely publicized case, Jason Patric filed a petition in a California court to establish a parental relationship with Gus, a child born to a woman named Danielle in 2009. Danielle opposed his motion, claiming that Jason was a sperm donor under the state family code and therefore, not the child’s natural father as a matter of law. Jason responded by arguing (among other things) that he was not a sperm donor within the meaning of section 7613(b) and that he is the “presumed parent” under 7611(d).

The couple never married but lived together for many years. Jason provided sperm (at a licensed fertility clinic) for Danielle to use in an in-vitro fertilization procedure, through which she conceived Gus. During the trial, the parties agreed to the following facts: Jason is not named on Gus’ birth certificate, there is no voluntary declaration of paternity and Gus has no other presumed, natural or possible biological father. Jason maintained a relationship with Gus until Danielle ended her relationship with Jason in 2012. At the end of trial, the court granted Danielle’s motion for nonsuit, finding that section 7613(b) applied to the matter, precluding Jason from proving paternity under section 7611(d).
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