Establishing Parental Relationships (Paternity)




An unmarried parent may file a case to establish a legal parent-child relationship between the unmarried parent and the child or children.  It is necessary to establish parentage to resolve other issues such as child support, health insurance, child custody, visitation, name change, reimbursement of allowable expenses, and restraining orders.


PLACE OF FILING  The county in which the child resides or is found is the county in which a paternity action must be filed.  If a case has been started in another county, you need to see the Family Law Facilitator for assistance.


MINOR PARENTS  A Guardian Ad Litem must be appointed to assist an unmarried parent who is under the age of 18.  The Guardian Ad Litem is necessary for a minor parent to file a case as well as to sign documents for the minor parent.


CHILD SUPPORT  Review the Child Support section for information for obtaining or modifying child support.


FORMS   A packet of forms to Establish Parental Relationship may be obtained from the Civil Process Clerk in Room 103 of the Courthouse.  In addition, forms may be downloaded from the California Courts Online Self Help Center.  The following is a list of those forms:


        Petition to Establish Parental Relationship


        Summons (Uniform Parentage Act)


        Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)


        Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship


        Proof of Service



In addition, you will need to complete the Family Information Form.  This is a local form.



FILING DOCMENTS AND FEES  You may file your documents in person in Room 103 of the Courthouse, or you may mail your documents.  A date for a hearing will be assigned by the Court as required by law and the availability of dates on the Family Law Department's calendar.  If you are filing a restraining order, it is recommended that you file in person in order to expedite the matter.



You must observe the following when filing documents:


        All documents presented for filing must be legible and either typed or printed.


        There must be three copies of each document


        If you mail documents, you must include a self-addressed stamped envelope to have your copies returned to you


        Documents must be pre-punched at the top of the documents with the standard two-hole position


        Include all filing fees.  If you pay with a check which is returned for non-sufficient funds, your filings will be voided if that check is not paid within 20 days after you are notified that the check was returned.



If you are unable to pay fees and costs, you may ask the court to waive those fees and costs by completing a Request to Waive Court Fees and Costs.



CONFIDENTIALITY   All papers and records, except the final judgment, may be inspected only by the parties to the action and their attorneys of record.