State Bar of California
AVVO Featured Attorney Family
Santa Clara County Bar Association
AVVO Top Attorney Family
AVVO Clients' Choice
Super Lawyers 2022
Super Lawyers 2023


Establishing paternity is the legal process that identifies a man as a child’s father. If a child’s parents were not married when their child was born, paternity must be established through the courts.

Mello & Pickering, LLP is a family law firm wtih the expertise to advise you of your different options. We want to give you as much information and knowledge as possible to make sure that you are fully informed and able to make decisions that are in your best interests. We listen to what you need and will give you advice to help you get through your current situation.

For Fathers: Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity will be very important, as it will give you the legal right to make decisions about your underage child’s medical care, education, lifestyle, and well-being, as well as the right to spend time with your son or daughter. It also entitles your child to certain legal rights, such as the right to receive financial support, benefits, and insurance coverage from you.

Alternatively, if you have been supporting a child who you thought was yours but may not be your biological child, taking a DNA test to determine whether or not you are the biological father will allow you to achieve peace of mind and/or free you from a responsibility that is not yours. If you find yourself in this position, it is important to act swiftly in securing counsel and advice.

For Mothers: Establishing Paternity

If you are not married to the father of your child, establishing parentage can entitle your child to certain legal rights, such as the ability to receive child support and benefits from his or her father. Not only does your child have the right to receive child support, but, as the mother, you have the right to receive child support from the father.

Sometimes, the process can be as simple as both parents signing a Declaration of Paternity form. At other times, the process may be more complicated. If a father does not wish to establish paternity, there are legal steps that can be taken to compel the father to take a court-ordered paternity test to verify his biological relationship to your son or daughter.

For Children: Establishing Paternity

There is no statute of limitation for establishing paternity in California. A child may wish to establish paternity in order to gain access to medical records and receive the right to inheritance. By law, every father is legally obligated to support a child who is a minor, and establishing paternity allows a child to receive financial support to pay for basic needs, health care, and education. Financial support and benefits aside, establishing paternity lets a child legally acknowledge a parental connection, impacting his or her sense of self forever.

Paternity Disputes

In cases where one parent wishes to dispute a paternity claim, the court may order a DNA test to determine the identity of the father. One person may also want to cancel or set aside a voluntary declaration of paternity, while the other person may choose to challenge this action. We will work with you to resolve this situation with the other party. In the event that this case cannot be resolved without going to trial, we are experienced litigators who can litigate your paternity issue on your behalf.

One of the advantages of retaining Mello & Pickering, LLP as your legal representative is that law partners Jennifer Mello & Traci Pickering will be working together on your case. Experienced family law experts, we combine the best of our talents, experience, and abilities to offer you the legal advice and remedies that you need to resolve your family law matter. We can help you with your paternity case, as well as negotiate any child support, child custody, and child visitation orders for you.

Mello & Pickering, LLP represents clients throughout Santa Clara County, Alameda County, and San Mateo County, including the cities of Hayward, Milpitas, Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Santa Clara, Atherton, Gilroy, Campbell, Menlo Park, San Jose, Los Altos, Saratoga, and Mountain View.

Please send an e-mail to Traci Pickering or Jennifer Mello or call us at (408) 288-7800. Mello & Pickering, LLP is conveniently located in San Jose, California. We would like to offer you a free consultation.

Mello & Pickering, LLP explicitly disclaims all liability related to actions performed or not performed based on any or all of the content on this Web site. View our Disclaimer page for more information.

Client Reviews
Thank you all for the exceptional personal service. I have the utmost gratitude for everything that you do. Anonymous
Thank you, you've been fantastic through the entire process. Would definitely refer you to others. Anonymous
THANK YOU!!!!! You made my divorce very easy. Anonymous
You were very well-spoken, well-prepared, and amazing thinking on your feet. Calm and professional. I was impressed. Thank you. Anonymous
Thanks again for all of your support and terrific work. It is hard to find a good lawyer that looks after their client and truly cares about them and their children. I truly believe that you have my best interest at heart. Anonymous