- General Information
- 10 Step Roadmap to Custody/Parentage
- Confidentiality of Cases Filed Under the Uniform Parentage Act
- How to Start a Case
- How to Serve and File a Response
- How to Obtain a Judgment by Default
- Requesting a Hearing - Obtaining / Modifying Support
To officially establish a parent-child relationship between a child (or children) and unmarried parents a Parentage case may be filed under the Uniform Parentage Act. Once parentage is established, the court may make orders for child support, health insurance, child custody, visitation, name change, reimbursement of pregnancy and birth expenses, and restraining orders. Establishing parentage is also used to secure benefits, such as social security, veteran's, and inheritance rights.
Starting Your Case in the Proper Place
You need to be sure that you start your case in the correct county. You may hear this referred to as the county of proper venue. A parentage case should be started in the county in which the child resides or is found.
Avoiding Multiple Case Filings
If a case is already pending in another county regarding the parentage of your child or with the local Child Support Agency, you do not need to file a new case. You may obtain orders regarding your children through the existing case.
Confidentiality of Cases Filed Under the Uniform Parentage Act
Confidentiality of Hearings and Records:
All papers and records, other than the final judgment, pertaining to the Parentage action filed before January 1, 2023, and petitions involving assisted reproduction are subject to inspection only by the parties to the action and their attorney(s) of record pursuant to Family Code 7643 - external link.
How to Start a Case
A Parentage case is used to officially establish a parent-child relationship between a child (or children) and his or her father. Once parentage is established, the court may make orders for child support, health insurance, child custody, visitation, name change, reimbursement of pregnancy and birth expenses and restraining orders. The forms packet used to start a case is:
- Parentage Packet (Step 1)
- Proof of Service of Summons (Step 2)
- Documents to Serve with a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship Summons and Petition
You may also use this program to complete and print your court forms for filing: Guide and File - external link
How to Serve and File a Response
If you were served with a Parentage Petition, you must file a Response within 30 days or risk the other party taking your default. If the other party takes your default, you may not be allowed to file documents or attend hearings in your case.
How to Obtain a Judgment by Default
If the other parent has not served and filed a Response and more than 30 days have passed since he/she was served with the Summons and Petition, you are eligible to proceed by Default. However, a default judgment is not automatic. You must file a Request to Enter Default and proceed to judgment by attending a hearing or by preparing a declaration. Seek legal assistance to determine which method is right for you.
Requesting a Hearing - Obtaining / Modifying Support
For obtaining and/or modifying support or custody, please review the information on our Child Support and Child Custody / Visitation pages.