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What is Paternity?

When parents are married, paternity is automatically established in most cases. If parents are unmarried, paternity establishment is NOT automatic and both parents should start the process of establishing paternity as soon as possible for the benefit of the child(ren).

Paternity means fatherhood. Establishing paternity is the process of determining the legal father of a child. Paternity (legal fatherhood) can be established either by the court or by the unmarried parents completing and signing a Paternity Opportunity Program Declaration of Paternity in the hospital or in our office.

If paternity has not been established, we can help you take the necessary steps to establish paternity. Establishing paternity will provide a child of unmarried parents the same legal rights as a child born to married parents. Contact the Santa Clara County Department of Child Support Services to Apply for Services or to sign a Declaration of Paternity for your child(ren).

Genetic Testing

Either parent or the local child support agency can request a genetic test if biological proof of paternity is wanted before a man is named the legal father.

More Information on Establishing Paternity

Last updated: 10/31/2018 9:01 AM