Parentage Action

Law Offices of Keith Banks offers legal assistance to residents of Yolo, Sacramento, Solano and Placer counties struggling with paternity issues.  Unmarried parents must legally establish the parentage of their children.

A parentage action is a court-filed suit to have a person declared the parent of a child.  Either the mother or the father can bring this suit to set a child custody and visitation schedule or order child support.

Determining Paternity

There are generally two methods for determining paternity: agreement or presumption.

An acknowledged father is established either by the admission of the father or by agreement of the parents.  An acknowledged father must pay child support.

presumed father if any of the following are true:

Paternity, child custody, parentage action
  •  The man was married to the mother when the child was conceived or born.
  • The man attempted to marry the mother (even if the marriage was not valid) and the child was conceived or born during the “marriage.”
  • The man married the mother after the birth and agreed either to have his name on the birth certificate or to support the child.
  • The man welcomed the child into his home and openly acted as if the child was his own.

Why is Paternity Legally Necessary?

Parentage must be established before the court will approve (or order) custody, visitation, or child support.  Furthermore, once a person is established as the parent, he or she will have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent including:

  • Requesting custody and visitation orders from the court in order that the parent can legally visit the child;
  • Paying child support, half of all uninsured health-care costs, and half of the child-care costs resulting from the custodial parent (the parent having primary care and custody of the child) getting or having a job or going to school.

Please be aware that, pursuant to California law, it is a crime for a legal parent to fail to support his or her child. 

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