Establishing Paternity During California Divorce Process

This article is about establishing paternity during the California divorce process.  This pertains to you if you had a child with your spouse before you were married.  In particular, we are going to discuss an often missed issue when filing the Petition in your California divorce.

If you are getting divorced and had a child born before you were married, you will have to establish paternity. This is basically a fancy way of having a legal proceeding where the court says that the father, is in fact, the father.

The good news is that if you are getting a divorce, you can establish paternity during the same divorce process. You won’t have to file a separate paternity action with the court.

What I want to discuss now is about filing the actual divorce Petition in California.  When you fill out the Petition, you have to state certain statistical facts such as the date of marriage, date of separation, who gets legal and physical custody, etc.

What a lot of people miss checking off is the box on page 2 of the Petition under number 7(d).  It says”

Determination of parentage of any children born to the Petitioner and Respondent prior to marriage.

If the two of you had a child born before the marriage you need to check this box.  If you do not check this box, the Court will not check to make sure you did or not.  The problem is if you do not check the box and try to finish your divorce, the entire case will be rejected when you go to submit your judgment.

Even worse is that you will have to file an amended Petition and re-serve the Petition on your spouse.  And guess what?  You now have to wait the 30 days again before you can file your judgment.

We are a licensed and bonded divorce paralegal service (legal document assistant firm) specializing in California divorce.  Please give us a call for more information or assistance with your divorce in California.