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Establishing paternity for unmarried parents in California

Some parents who weren't married when a child was born will need to establish paternity for that baby. This is done in two different ways, depending on the situation at hand. One of the ways is for them to sign a Declaration of Paternity, which can be done at the hospital when the baby is born or at specific state agencies later. The other option is through DNA testing to determine paternity.

If the unmarried parents sign the voluntary declaration, there is a period after during which that document can be rescinded. This must be done within 60 days of signing the declaration. You must file an official rescission notice with the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) within this time frame.

One thing to remember is that you shouldn't ever sign this declaration if you aren't sure about the paternity of the baby. Once the 60-day rescission window closes, it is very hard to have the matter reversed. Even if a DNA test shows that the man isn't the father, he might still be responsible for supporting the child.

There are many cases in which establishing paternity is a complex matter. It is imperative that you have your case reviewed to determine what you need to do. If you aren't sure about who is the father of a child, having a DNA test done might be the best option.

None of these options matter if the mother is married as her husband is considered to be the father of the baby. If this isn't the case, there might be steps that have to be taken to protect the father's rights.

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