When a couple has a baby together, and they are not married, they are given the option at the hospital to sign a parentage form. This allows the father to be legally recognized as the child’s father and give the child his name. This also gives him the benefits, and responsibilities of being a father. In some situations, the couple opts not to sign this form.
Over time, the relationship between the couple may deteriorate. They may even break-up altogether. In some cases, this leaves the mother to raise and care for her child alone, without financial or emotional support from the father. This is an example of when a Parentage Case should be filed.
TIP: Before we get into the steps required to file this case, we feel we need to tell you that it can be a confusing process. You will probably need to have your family lawyer review the papers to ensure they are filled out correctly. If you need the process to be done as quickly as possible, you should let your paternity attorney handle the filing of the case.
How Do You File The Case?
* You are the one bringing the case, so on the forms, you are the petitioner. Here are the steps:
* You will file form FL-200 which establishes the parental relationship.
* You will file form FL-210 which is a summons.
* You will fill out form FL-311 which is an optional form that allows the courts to address visitation, holidays, and other situations which will affect when your child will be with each parent.
You will fill out form FL-150 which is an income and expense declaration, or you may be allowed to use form FL-155 which is a basic financial statement.
• Now would be the time to have your attorney review the forms to ensure you fill them out correctly.
• Make at least two copies of all of the forms. One copy is for you and the other is for the person you are serving.
• File your form with your local city clerk
• You will have to pay the filing fee or apply for a fee waiver if you cannot afford to pay the fees.
The clerk will keep the original forms and return to you two copies that are stamped. One of for you and one is for the other parent.
You will now serve the other party in the case. You will provide him or her with the following:
• The stamped copy of the petition you filed
• A blank form called “Response to establish a parental relationship” form FL-200
• A blank “Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody” form FL-105/GC-120
• A blank “Income and expense declaration” if you are seeking child support, form FL-150
Have your server provide you the proof of service of summons, form FL-115 so you can file it with the court. Be sure you keep a copy.
You must give the respondent 30-days to respond to the summons.
After the waiting period is over and since you now have an open case in the system, you can ask the court to rule on child support, visitation, and custody of the child.
These forms are very important and must be done correctly. A paternity lawyer can help you with the process.