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Paternity Lawyers in California

Board Certified Family Law Specialists Protecting Your Parental Rights

When is a Parentage Action Necessary?

A parentage action, also referred to as a paternity case, is a family court matter whereby the court determines who the legal parents of a child are. Any person claiming or disputing parentage of a child may file a parentage action. Once a parentage case is opened, any party may file requests for additional relief such as child support, legal custody and visitation orders, and/or attorney fees.

A parentage action is appropriate if parents to a child are unmarried. Otherwise, the parties can proceed with a typical divorce case which will establish child support, legal custody, physical custody and visitation for all children of the marriage. If there are any questions or concerns about the parentage of a child, contact the experienced paternity lawyers at Cage & Miles today to learn more.



  • Q: Why is establishing parentage important?

  • A: Establishing legal parentage not only protects parental rights, but the child’s rights as well. Upon the establishment of parentage, a parent can begin to exercise important rights such as legal custody rights. Legal custody involves the right to make decisions regarding a child’s health, safety, education, and wellbeing. This will also involve access to the child’s educational and medical records. A child’s parents can also seek orders of support and physical custody. A child will benefit from inheritance rights of legally recognized parents as well as other government benefits such as social security and veteran’s benefits.


  • Q: What is the process for establishing paternity in California?

  • A: The most common way to establish parentage is the agreement of two parties that they are the biological mother and father of a child. A paternity or DNA test will not be necessary in this instance. Often at birth, an unmarried father will sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. If an alleged father disputes the paternity of a child, genetic testing may be ordered.


  • Q: How is parentage established between same-sex couples?

  • A: The law has been greatly expanded to account for same-sex parent families, and even provide for a child to have more than two legal parents. The law permits for a very broad understanding of family. Presumed parentage can be established for a parent not biologically related to the child if that person holds the child out as his or her own. There are time limitations placed on challenges to parentage so it is important to speak with an experienced paternity attorney as soon as possible if you have questions or concerns regarding parentage.


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"From my first meeting with Michele, I felt that she had my best interest at heart. She is obviously a consummate professional with scrupulous attention to detail. She formulated a plan for us to move forward with and was honest with me as to what to expect. Through this whole process, she earned my trust and respect. I wish I would have retained her originally. The whole office worked as a team. There are two more attorneys and plenty of staff at this office. When Michele was not available there was another attorney there to handle issues. Elizabeth Brown was very warm and personable. I was glad this group was on my side."

Former clients share their experience

"In the middle of a crisis, like a divorce where you need a lawyer, you need someone who can help you make sense of just about everything. This firm does just that! Michele and Liz are an incredible team, and they have a wonderful support staff! They focus on your goals and what you want (they like to point out “it is your life, and when we are gone you have to be happy with this”). They lay out the process and expectations very clearly. They work well with support counsel and outside specialists. You expect your lawyers to be good at the law – it was a wonderful experience to find two people who also have great compassion and sensitivity to what you are going through. They care and it shows in how they and their staff treat you from the first meeting to the last. I highly recommend Michele Lowenstein and Liz Brown."

Former clients share their experience

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