Family Law Overview
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Carlsbad Paternity Attorney
One of the most challenging cases that will unfold in the California family court system is a paternity dispute. Whether you need to establish your paternity over your child to exercise your custody rights or if you need a court-ordered paternity test to hold the biological father of your child accountable for child support, paternity cases are emotionally challenging and complex family law matters. A Carlsbad paternity lawyer is an essential asset when you are facing any paternity dispute in the California family court system.
Representing Carlsbad, CA, Clients in Paternity Cases
Carlsbad divorce attorney Paula D. Kleinman and her team can provide the legal counsel you need to effectively navigate your paternity case. We understand the emotional tension that often comes into play in these cases and can help you remain focused, objective, and practical throughout your paternity case proceedings. Our firm is committing to providing comprehensive and client-focused legal representation. We’ll take time to get to know you and your situation to provide the most individualized representation we possibly can.
Understanding the Importance of Establishing Paternity
Paternity is a central legal issue of almost every child support determination. The biological father of a child owes the child financial support under California law, even if he does not intend to exercise parental rights and seek custody in any measure. Paternity cases arise to either assert or disprove paternity. A biological father may be compelled to fulfill their child support obligation once the child’s mother has filed a paternity suit and the court orders a DNA test. A positive test proving the father is indeed the biological parent would be all the proof the mother needs to secure child support payments from the father.
Conversely, paternity cases can also arise if an alleged father suspects he is not the biological father of his alleged child. For example, a man has been paying child support to his former partner, believing himself to be the biological father of her child. However, he later discovers information that indicates someone else is the biological father of the child. In this situation, the alleged father could file a paternity suit and request a court-ordered DNA test to firmly establish the child’s parentage beyond any reasonable doubt. If the test shows he is not the child’s father, the court will release him from his child support obligation.
This situation has unfortunately affected many men throughout the United States in recent years. Whether a biological mother does not know her child’s actual parentage or lies about her child’s paternity, a man discovering that he has been financially supporting another man’s child can be in an emotionally devastating and frustrating situation. In this situation, the assumed father would have the right to cease paying child support and file a civil claim against the child’s actual biological father for the support payments he has already made to the child’s mother. While the mother would not be legally responsible for repaying the owed support, the presumed father who has disproven paternity may still have grounds for a civil claim against the mother if she knowingly lied about her child’s paternity to wrongfully extract child support from him. In addition, the plaintiff in this paternity fraud case could seek compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress and other damages with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Establish Paternity?
If you require a court-ordered paternity test, you must formally submit a petition to the family court requesting such an order. Hiring an experienced paternity lawyer in Carlsbad will make this process much easier as they can draft and submit your petition on your behalf. You will also likely need an attorney’s assistance through the subsequent legal proceedings. For example, suppose you are filing a paternity dispute to establish your child’s paternity and hold their biological father responsible for child support. In that case, your attorney can help you ensure you receive the appropriate amount of child support based on the factors required for consideration under California state law.
Your attorney can also assist you if you need to take further legal action after disproving paternity, such as modifying an existing family court order or pursuing legal action against the child’s biological mother for paternity fraud. Ultimately, it is always best to approach any paternity dispute with the assistance of an experienced Carlsbad family law attorney.
Can a Lawyer Represent a Child?
Although rare, a child can file a paternity action to discover their true parentage or hold a biological father accountable for unpaid child support. In addition, the family court can appoint an attorney to represent a child if their parents have not secured their own legal counsel. California law also allows for “minor’s counsel” in child support and child custody determinations.
Whereas most family law cases involving child custody and child support revolve around ensuring family court orders align with the child’s best interests, the minor’s counsel aims to provide the child with legal representation so they can have their preferences considered in a custody or support determination. Unfortunately, this is typically only available to children old enough to make coherent arguments and convey their preferences concerning custody.
What to Expect From Your Carlsbad Paternity Attorney
Your Carlsbad paternity lawyer can help you file the necessary paperwork to initiate your paternity claim, whether you need to seek paternity to hold a parent accountable for child support, to assert your own custody rights, to disprove a claim of paternity over a former partner’s child, or to hold a former partner accountable for paternity fraud. A good family law attorney will account for the emotional stress these situations create and help you understand each phase of your case proceedings, and confidently approach them.
Attorney Paula D. Kleinman provides client-focused legal representation in every family law case our firm accepts. Paternity is one of the most emotionally charged issues that may arise in a child custody determination, child support dispute, or any other family law matter involving unclear parentage of a child. If you are facing any paternity dispute in the Carlsbad, CA, area, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.