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Information about California Paternity Suits :

A California paternity suit is an action filed in court when two people were never married, but have children together. A paternity suit is filed in the same court as a divorce action. This court is called the family court. (The local courthouse that handles these types of cases in the Temecula and Murrieta areas of Riverside County, Ca is located in Hemet.)

Unlike a divorce proceeding, a paternity case can only deal with a limited number of issues. For instance, a paternity case cannot address any issues of property division. A paternity case concerns determining who the parents of the child is (this is done through a DNA test), who each child should live with (called child custody), how much time each child should with each parent (i.e visitation) and how much money should be paid by one parent to the other to help care for the children (child support).

A paternity action is very different than a divorce in other respects, as well. A divorce action always takes at least six months and one day. This is called a waiting period. There is no waiting period in a paternity action, and the process is usually much shorter. On average, a paternity action takes about three months to complete versus about nine months for a divorce. There is also a residency requirement in a paternity action. In a divorce case, one of the parties must live in the state of California for at least six months and within the county for at least three months before they can file a divorce. In a paternity action, a party can file immediately, without having to live in either the state of Ca or the county for a certain amount of time. A paternity action also requires much less paperwork.

A paternity action usually involves the filing of a Petition and the filing of an Order to Show Cause for custody, visitation and support. If the alleged father admits the child is his, the court will often enter a judgment for paternity the same day as it makes orders for custody and child support. Otherwise, the court will order a paternity test (genetic test), and the parties will return to court after they receive the results, and the court will enter a judgment for paternity at that hearing. Even after a judgment is entered, the court will have the power to change paternity orders pertaining to child support, child visitation and child custody until the child reaches adulthood.

If you have any questions about how to establish paternity, or you would like to consult with one of our family law attorneys about any other issue, please call our office for a free consultation.

Family Attorneys serving the Temecula, Murrieta, and Hemet areas of Riverside County, California, including Menifee, Wildomar, Winchester, Canyon Lake, and Lake Elsinore. Our practice is limited to family law, including issues involving divorce, paternity, legal separation, annulment, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, attorney fees, post-judgment modifications, division of property, and domestic violence.