PARENTAGE

The State of California presumes that married couples are the parents of children of the marriage. In contrast, unmarried parents must legally establish parentage in court. Either parent may petition the court to establish parentage. Likewise, a party can challenge parentage in court by requesting genetic testing. Without establishing parentage or paternity, the biological father of a child has no legal rights and no legal responsibilities for the child. Once parentage is established, the court may make child custody and visitation orders, and child support orders.