A parentage case is where there are typically unmarried persons that have children together. It is true that married persons can file a parentage case if they have not filed for divorce or legal separation and they need custody, visitation or support orders, however, this is very uncommon.

You will often hear the term “paternity case” and frequently this means the same thing as a parentage case. However, establishing paternity is and should be distinguished as something entirely different than a “parentage case” or a “paternity case”.

Establishing paternity is something that can be done in a parentage case when the paternity of a child is unknown or in question. Legally, before the Court may make orders relating to custody, visitation and/or child support, the Court is required to make a legal finding of paternity.

There are many different types of parents and biology does not always dictate who may be legally found to be the parent or parents of a child or children.

More recently, the law in California significantly changed with respect to how many people can be declared parents as it relates to any one child. Previous to 2013 only two persons could be declared parents of a child or children. Now, as of 2013, it is actually possible for more than two people to be declared parents of a child or children. For more on this topic, please visit

Having an attorney who exclusively practices in family law will ensure you have the background expertise of knowing the ins and outs of these issues as well as the nuances that other more general practicing attorneys may not know.

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