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Paternity actions

At the Law Offices of John S. Cowhig, we advocate for both men and women, in equal number, and skillfully educate, negotiate, mediate, or litigate to protect the interests of our clients.


Personal Guidance Through Simple and Complex Family Transitions

A paternity or parentage action is a legal proceeding in which a person is officially deemed to be the parent of a child and is typically filed between parties who are not married. Paternity suits are filed for a variety of reasons. It may be commenced by a presumed father seeking custody or visitation, a mother seeking child support, a child seeking to establish a parental relationship or the state seeking reimbursement for public assistance. Only a person with standing can file a paternity action. With some exceptions, only four types of persons have standing to file a paternity action: a mother, a presumed (or putative) father, the child, or the state.

Note that biological is not the controlling factor in determining parentage. A biological parent can be denied parentage if that biological parent does not act quickly in attempting to exercise his or her rights as a parent and attempting to create a parent/child relationship. Sitting on one’s rights could result in a biological parent having no standing to bring a parentage action. A person who believes he or she is the biological parent should make immediate efforts to obtain and maintain a relationship and bond with the child including, but not limited to, paying voluntary support (or put money into an account for the child if the other parent refuses to take the support), emotionally supporting the mother during pregnancy, making continued efforts to see and care for the child in your home, hold out the child to family and friends as his or her own child, etc. If resistance is received, a parentage action should be considered.

Be aware that this can be a very complicated area of law if parentage is disputed.

If you are successful in establishing a paternal relationship with the child, the court can impose a child support order upon request of either parent. That child support order may be modified in the future if there is a change in circumstance such as a custody/visitation change or a significant change in income of one of the parties. The right to receive child support, however, belongs to the minor child and therefore cannot be waived by the parents.

At The Law Offices of John S. Cowhig, we handle divorce and family law cases throughout Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange County, CA.

No matter the specific issue you face, you will need an attorney on your side to safeguard your interests and your future by providing a custom solution for your case.  We are prepared to help our clients with compassionate and supportive guidance when it is needed most.  However complicated your case may seem, our skilled attorneys and winning strategies can help.

In addition to our proficiency in handling a vast variety of cases, our lawyers are adept at aggressively litigating cases and at negotiating.  We aim to make each case as easy and pleasant for the parties involved as possible.  We constantly update clients on the state of their case and provide our full support and attention.  No matter what our clients’ goals are, we take their hopes to heart, fighting relentlessly to protect their interests and achieve the best outcomes.

More practice areas

child support


child custody


restraining orders


Contact US

We take your family law matters very seriously.

Below, we’ve provided a number of ways for you to contact our professional staff:


Law Offices of John S. Cowhig,

19600 Fairchild Road, Suite 295

Irvine, California, 92612


 (949) 333-0580 




8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

12 + 15 =

The Law Offices of John S. Cowhig is found within Irvine’s beautiful Main Plaza, located just right off of the 405 & 55 Freeway.