Establish Paternity (Parentage)
"Establishing parentage" means establishing who the legal parents of a child are if the parents were not married when the child was born. If the parents were married when the child was born, the law usually considers the husband to be the father.
After January 1, 2005, if parents are registered domestic partners when a child is born, the law assumes that the domestic partners are parents. However, same sex parents should get legal advice to make sure that the parentage is clear.
Parents who are not married when a child is born can sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity before they leave the hospital, or after. When people who are not married cannot agree about parentage, the Court can order genetic testing.
Usually, a child's parentage must be established before you can get child support or custody and visitation orders. You can ask the Judge for child support or custody and visitation as part of a case that establishes the parentage of a child.
A filing fee will be charged to file a Petition to Establish Custody and Support for Minor Children or a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship. To find the current fee, please see our Fee Schedule . If you cannot afford the filing fee, you may complete a Fee Waiver Application