“We are family” is not only the title of a memorable song from the 1990s. It’s also a phrase spoken or thought by nearly everyone at one time or another. But what defines “family?” Is it always defined biologically? Or is “family” a term bestowed on people or friends that provide love and support throughout our lives, but are not necessarily blood relatives?
If this were a philosophical or semantic discussion, the answer could be a collective “yes” to all of the above questions, particularly in our present culture in which blended, extended, and single parent families flourish. But we are attorneys, so we believe the answer must be more precisely defined.
In matters pertaining to divorce (and sometimes, outside of divorce) it is often necessary to determine whether or not a certain person is the biological father of a child in question. Establishing paternity is the first step toward asserting parental rights and resolving potential issues. The issues at stake can include:
- Child custody arrangements
- Visitation rights
- Child support payments (including healthcare and health insurance)
- Inheritances, trusts and bequests
- Children’s entitlement to other benefits (VA, Social Security, Native American, etc.)
When paternity has been established, the outstanding divorce issues may then be addressed, including fathers’ rights. Extrapolating from that point, if grandparents of the children in question believe their rights to visitation, etc. are in question, further legal action may be necessary to establish these grandparents’ rights. We will focus on that topic in a subsequent blog post.
At Dinnebier & Demmerle, we have significant experience in representing parties involved in questions of paternity determination cases. Have questions, concerns, or need help? Add the superlative legal skills and specialized experience of Orange County’s premier family law specialists to your team. Please call at your convenience to set up a consultation. We are right here in Tustin, Orange County. When you’re ready to move forward, call us at 714-838-1099.