A parentage action is used to establish who a child's parent is if the parents are unmarried. In addition to establishing parentage the parents may seek child custody and visitation orders and child support orders. Frequently the California Department of Child Support Services otherwise known as the DCSS will help the mother or father file the necessary court documents to open a paternity case and seek child support from the non-custodial parent.

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A parentage case starts with a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship. It is extremely important if you are served with a parentage action that you properly respond by filing a Response with the Court. If you do not believe the child is biologically related to you the response may deny paternity and request genetic testing.

If the DCSS is involved be aware that they are tasked with helping to establish and enforce child support orders. Therefore, if you are the non-custodial parent, meaning you have custody of the child less than 50% of the time, their goal will be to obtain a child support order against you as high as they can. It is up to you to make sure the Court hears your side of the case and receives your proper income documentation. Mesnik Law Group has extensive experience handling cases involving the DCSS, contact us for more information regarding the DCSS and how to defend yourself.

See the child custody and the child support sections for detailed information about those issues.

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