Establishing Parentage

Parentage establishment is the process of determining a child’s legal parent(s). The benefits of establishing parentage are numerous for all parties, but most of all for your child. Establishing parentage is necessary before custody, visitation and child support issues can be addressed by a court.

If the parents are not married at the time of conception, parentage needs to be established. By law a person is presumed to be the legal parent when they are married to the other parent at the time the child is conceived. If the marriage occurs after the child is conceived, parentage must still be legally established.

Parentage can be established by the following actions:

  • Parentage Opportunity Program 
  • Court Order

NOTE: A person can be a “legal parent” without being the biological parent.

Free genetic testing is available through Central Sierra Child Support Agency when legally appropriate.


For more information about paternity benefits and the Paternity Opportunity Program, visit the State Department of Child Support Establish Paternity resource page by clicking here.