In order for a child support arrangement to be established, the relationship between the child and the parent has to be established. Parents in California should understand that verifying the maternity and paternity of a child is an important factor in obtaining child support, and they should be aware of what steps need to be taken.

The maternity of a child is typically established when the mother gives birth to the child. Establishing paternity can be done in multiple ways.

For situations in which the parents are married when the child is born, the husband is automatically acknowledged as the father. If the parents are not married to one another when the child is born, paternity will have to be established through the completion of a form that acknowledges paternity. This form can be filled out by both parents in the hospital at the birth of the child. They can also complete the form at a nearby Vital Statistics Registrar or Child Support Enforcement Agency.

In situations in which the parentage is in doubt or is being disputed, a genetic test request can be submitted by either parent to the CSEA, which will instruct all parties involved to participate in the testing. If the parents fail to submit themselves to be tested or they do not make their child available, they can be held in contempt and compelled to submit.

In order to prove paternity, the genetic test has to show a probability of 99 percent. After the results of the test have been obtained, the CSEA will then issue an administrative paternity order.

A family law attorney may work to protect the rights of clients regarding child support legal issues. The attorney may advise a parent about which legal avenues should be pursued to establish the paternity of a child and to have a child support order issued.