In 2016, Paternity Cases Involve Primary Issues of Custody and Visitation and Child Support in San Diego

WHAT ARE THE PROCEDURES TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY IN SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT FOR CHILD SUPPORT AND/OR CUSTODY AND VISITATION

If parents are not married at time of birth or conception, for a San Diego paternity case, then a judgment of paternity needs to be entered for the father to have legal rights to custody and visitation and legal obligations to pay child support. There are cases where a voluntary declaration of paternity is signed at the hospital and also cases where the father’s name is placed on the birth certificate however these may not constitute a legal judgment of paternity. To initiate a paternity case in San Diego Superior Court, a Complaint to Establish a Paternal Relationship must be filed and served in accordance with California law and San Diego Local Rules of Court. Once the Complaint is served personally or a Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt executed, then there is a 30 day period to respond before a default judgment can be taken. If you are served with these family law pleadings, feel free to contact Doppelt & Forney, APLC to represent you in your pending case. These cases, due to a non marriage with children, can be less complex than a divorce or legal separation since do not include issues of spousal support and division of assets and debts.

HOW ARE CUSTODY AND VISITATION ORDERS OBTAINED IN A PATERNITY CASE

There is no difference, in San Diego Superior Court, for custody and visitation orders whether the parents are not married or married. Once paternity is established, then the same analysis applies whether a paternity case or a divorce or legal separation. If the parents can reach an agreement, then this agreement can be reduced to writing in a legal document called a stipulation. This stipulation is then filed with the Court and, once a Judge signs, becomes an order of the Court. If an agreement cannot be reached by the parents, then a Request for Order [legal motion] is filed and served and sets two court dates: mandatory mediation with Family Court Services and a hearing date in front of the San Diego Judge. The time period, in 2016, is approximately 60 days from the date of filing for the mediation and 90 days from the date of filing for the court hearing. Custody is divided into two areas: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to decision making abilities for, among others, health and education and welfare. In San Diego Superior Court, in 2016, the majority of parents have joint legal custody. Physical custody refers to the parenting plan and where the children or child will live and with who. Considerations for the parenting plan can include summer vacation, winter vacation, school days, non school days, holidays, birthdays, three day weekends and many others. The more specific the plan, the less likely to have disagreements. Modifications can always be done in writing and filed with the Court after an initial order is made. The Law Office of Doppelt & Forney, APLC represents both fathers and mothers in paternity cases however, of course, not in the same case.

HOW ARE CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS OBTAINED IN A PATERNITY CASE

A child support order, as with a visitation and custody order, can be done by stipulation in a written agreement. For child support motions, if not combined with a request for custody and visitation orders and the mediation, may have a hearing date in as soon as 60 days. The custom and practice, in Family Law Court in San Diego in 2016, is for the Judge to consider [when the child support order is made, to be retroactive to the date of filing. This can create a past due, or arrear, amount which may be ordered to be paid immediately in full or a payment plan monthly on top of the base support amount. An income and expense declaration needs to be filed with the initial request for order for the child support motion and all must be properly served and other requirements as well. The Law Office of Doppelt & Forney, APLC can assist with these pleadings and also represent you in Court at the hearing or for negotiations. It is very important to obtain accurate information on what you would pay or owe for child support so an informed and intelligent decision can be made whether or not to settle or litigate this issue.

WHAT ARE MANDATORY ADDS: BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE

In addition to the base child support amount under guideline, there are also mandatory add ons. These include each parent [normally] to pay 50% of all day care for employment or education as well as unreimbursed and uninsured orthodontic, medical, dental, counseling and vision. There is also what is termed a “negative add on” which can be for travel for the non custodial parent. There are also requirements to use existing insurance as well as notice periods for reimbursement requests and can get very complicated. The Law Firm of Doppelt & Forney, APLC have experience with these add ons and can give you legal advice.

HOW CAN A LOCAL SAN DIEGO LAW FIRM ASSIST WITH YOUR PATERNITY OR OTHER FAMILY LAW CASE?

The Law Firm of Doppelt & Forney, APLC represent parents in paternity cases in San Diego in 2016. Whether you are the mother or father, their firm can assist you in protecting your rights and trying to obtain your legal goals. Legal advice from their firm in a free consultation in their office up to 30 minutes can be very valuable.

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