Voluntary Declaration of Paternity
The California Legislature has declared a compelling state interest in establishing paternity as the first step toward establishing child support orders, as well as a means of protecting the child’s rights to benefits and the child’s medical needs.
Today, hospitals are required to provide a method for execution of a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDOP).
A VDOP has the effect of entry of a Judgment of Paternity, pursuant to Family Code §7573. For this reason, the Child Support Department can easily file and seek child support, once contacted by the parent who is seeking support payment.
It is possible to request for and receive rescission of the VDOP, if the request is filed within the time allotted by statute.
Once a Paternity action is filed, the court establishes “a parent – child relationship”. Marital status does not prevent establishing this relationship. However, there are exceptions.
When there are conflicting interests with “presumptive” parents, such presumption is rebutted based on factors set by Family Code §7611.
I cannot stress enough that this is a very specialized and very confusing area of family law for many family law attorneys. As such I caution you, at the time you decide to retain a family law attorney, to inquire whether the attorney you hire is familiar with the presumption.
At Nouri Law, we are fully familiar with and abreast of changes in the law and in the present statutory burden of proof. In today’s world, where artificial insemination, surrogate mothers, biological parents and adoptive parents all have competing interests, we are able to successfully navigate our clients’ legal interests through this somewhat murky area of law.
When can the court exercise jurisdiction over parties in paternity actions?
Jurisdiction divides into two sections: Subject Matter Jurisdiction and In Persona or Personal Jurisdiction. California Courts have Subject Matter Jurisdiction over a person who has sexual relations with another party in the Golden State, or who parents a child by assisted reproduction (Family Code §7620).
The court action must be filed where the child resides or is found, or in the county of the adoption agency, and if the Father is deceased, in the county where probate proceedings are pending.
Who has the right to bring an action?
The Child, mother, or presumptive father, as defined under Family Code §7620(a), and the adoption agency may bring an action for paternity.
Can you set aside a paternity order or judgment?
Yes, under certain circumstances. If you wish to do so, DO NOT wait long or you may lose your rights. One has to file a motion with the court, and we would be happy to evaluate your case.
What if I am not DAD?
It depends. You could ask to remain as dad or be removed as dad, if the case is ripe and you have a remedy. We will evaluate your case and will advise you accordingly.
What if we have two Moms?
We will explain the case of Charisma R. v. Kristina S (2009) when we meet with you, and determine whether you fall under Family Code §7611(d).
Could I have two Dads?
We will discuss the Wynn v. Superior Court (2009) case, if your case falls into that category or those remedies are available.
What about procreation issues, such as men who sell their sperm for insemination of single or married women?
We will review your case and discuss possible actions or lack thereof. We are here to assist you.
What if I am married and pregnant with the child of another?
We will discuss a paternity action, paternity presumption, case law and statutes, as well as Family Code § 78419(b). We are here to explain and advocate for you, if you permit us to do so.