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San Diego Paternity Lawyer

Establishing Parentage & Legal Parental Rights

IPaternity testn order for a father to exercise his parental rights, paternity must be established. Mothers also need to establish paternity of their child if they wish to receive child support. If you are facing a complex paternity case, you need the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer.

Our experienced paternity case lawyer in San Diego can help you determine when and how to move forward. At Embry Family Law P.C., we help clients establish parentage for the benefit of the mother, father, and child.

Please contact us by calling (619) 485-6476 to schedule a consultation.

Parentage in California

When parents are married and a child is born, the husband is presumed to be the father. In addition, when they have lived together as a family and the man has demonstrated a commitment to the child, the man is presumed to be the father of the child. Only after parentage is established can the father seek custody rights.

Options for Establishing Paternity

There are two basic ways to establish paternity, either voluntarily or by court order. The easiest way to establish paternity is for both parents to sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. This form is a legal acknowledgment by both parents that the man is the legal father of the child. If both parents do not agree, a paternity action can be filed in court and genetic testing may be ordered.

A paternity order may be requested by:

  • The mother of the child
  • A man who believes he is the father, also known as the alleged or putative father
  • An adoption agency
  • A local child support agency

Genetic testing may be required to determine the biological father for the purposes of child support, in connection with the mother’s request for public benefits, or when the father wants to be recognized and have parental rights and responsibilities. Establishing paternity offers a variety of benefits to the mother, father, and child. Whether you are the mother or alleged father, it can be helpful to have a San Diego paternity lawyer by your side to guide you through the legal process.

How to Get a Court-Ordered Paternity Test in California

If either parent is unwilling to sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, you will need to get a court-ordered paternity test. The process for getting a paternity test in California is as follows:

  1. Hire an attorney to represent you; this can help accelerate the legal process and help you determine paternity sooner
  2. Your attorney will help you file a petition with the court and serve a summons to the other party, requiring them to respond to the petition
  3. The court will set a hearing date where they will determine whether a trial will occur or if the case will be dismissed
  4. The court may then require the alleged father, the mother, and the child to undergo DNA testing to determine paternity

For court-ordered paternity tests in California, the courts will not accept privately conducted DNA tests, or at-home paternity tests. After the court orders for genetic testing to be conducted, they will then provide both parties with information on how to get a paternity test that is admissible in court. If you need help figuring out how to get a paternity test in California, our attorneys at Embry Family Law P.C. are here to guide you through the process.

Get advice that is specific to your situation in a consultation. Contact us by calling (619) 485-6476 to arrange an appointment.

The Embry Family Law P.C. Team

  • Ben E. Embry Photo
    Ben E. Embry

    Founding Attorney

    Ben was born and raised in Henderson, Kentucky, and attended the University of Kentucky. He did not leave Kentucky until he moved to San Diego to attend law school in 2006. Ben grew up on his father’s farm, doing the things that most “farm boys” do: Plowing the fields, tending the cattle, and harvesting crops, all while leaving enough time to fish in the pond. Working for his father is what gave Ben the work ethic he has today. Despite the fact that farming was in his blood, Ben decided early on ...
  • Nicholas  Montano Photo
    Nicholas Montano

    Senior Paralegal/Office Manager

    Nicholas is a native San Diegan who grew up in Golden Hills, right by the 94 freeway. As the middle of three siblings, he was and is the “peace maker” in the family. At Embry Family Law P.C., Nicholas enjoys supporting clients by explaining the process to them, listening to their concerns, and assuring them that they are in good hands and that everything will be okay. Nicholas attended St. Augustine High School and Cuyamaca Community College, and he is working on his last semester to become ABA ...
  • Shyanne  Mortimer Photo
    Shyanne Mortimer

    Lead Litigation Paralegal

    Shyanne was born in Concord, California where she lived for the earlier parts of her life before moving to Fresno California. In 2018 she graduated from Clovis West High School and continued her education at her local private college, Fresno Pacific University. She graduated a year early in 2020 with her Bachelor's Degree in English and an emphasis in classic literature. She is a first generation college graduate and used this as fuel to pursue her education further. In 2021 she attended the ...
  • Daniel  Ledesma Photo
    Daniel Ledesma

    Legal Assistant

    After receiving his bachelors in Law & Society at the University of California, Riverside, native San Diegan Daniel Ledesma has worked in two legal fields whilst he prepares for his next stop: Law School. Growing up in a diverse setting that San Diego entails, Daniel wants to enrich his legal expertise and assist individuals within his community who may not be 100% knowledgeable with their rights. Prior to joining Embry Family Law, Daniel worked in Immigration law and took a vast amount of pride ...
  • Gabriele  Finley Photo
    Gabriele Finley

    Litigation Paralegal

    I am a graduate of California State University San Marcos with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences. I unexpectedly found my passion for the legal field during a Sociology of Deviance class and went on to earn my Paralegal Certificate from the University of San Diego School of Law. I have always had a strong inclination towards Family Law, and my love for it stems from my passion for being a genuine advocate for others. In my free time, I enjoy exploring different areas of San Diego, cooking ...
  • Carmen  Caserta Photo
    Carmen Caserta

    Associate Attorney

    Carmen was born in Los Angeles, CA, and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. She moved to San Diego as a budding singer/songwriter in 2001, when she was just nineteen years old. After spending a few years teaching herself to play piano and write music, Carmen began to feel a strong pull toward academic pursuits. With a lifelong fascination surrounding the complexities of the human experience, she decided to pursue a BA in psychology and graduated with Honors from Chapman University in 2008. ...
  • Julie  Mekhael Photo
    Julie Mekhael

    Law Clerk

    Julie was born in Los Angeles, CA, where she then grew up in East Highland Ranch with her fun family of 5. In 2010, she and her family moved to Sunny San Diego, where she graduated from Torrey Pines High School and continued her education at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), receiving her bachelor’s degree in political science. Her early love for competitive swimming, which started at the age of 5, carried her through her college years. But a new path called her when she made the ...

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