When a couple has a child together, and they are not married, they have an opportunity to sign a Declaration Of Parentage. Most couples sign it at the hospital at the time of the birth of the child, but what exactly does it do?

A Declaration Of Parentage is a voluntary statement that both parents sign, declaring that they are each the biological parent of the child.

Why Would You Want To Sign This?

You may think that the fact that you love each other and are going to raise your child together is enough. After all, if you accept that you are the parent, who else needs to know?

There are several reasons why you need this document. Your love may be enough to satisfy you, but the government, insurance companies, school systems, and other agencies do not consider your love as legal proof of parentage.

Do You Have To Sign It At The Hospital?

You can sign the form at a later date according to our paternity lawyers. You can sign the form or establish paternity through the United States court system via DNA testing. In this situation, you will be charged a fee to have your child’s birth certificate amended.

How Will It Benefit The Child?

In California, if a child is born to an unmarried couple, the child is assigned whatever the last name the mother chooses. The mother may have been married before, and she may carry the name of her ex-husband. Unfortunately, that would mean that your child might carry the last name of a man that has nothing to do with your child. Again, this is up to the mother.

If you have signed the declaration, you are affording your child all the benefits that are provided for you by the government. If you get hurt and have to file for Social Security Disability, you will receive a check for your minor child as well.

If you die while your child is a minor, your child can receive your Social Security benefits.

You can add your child to your medical insurance policy and can even add him or her to your life insurance policy. If there is a family property that will be passed down to you; parentage allows you to establish that this property is passed down to your child in the event of your death.

You Can’t Be Denied

As long as you have your Declaration of Parentage, the child’s school, doctor, childcare provider, and anyone else, must give you the same rights as any other parent. Unless of course, your legal parenting agreement says otherwise.


Married or single, parents sometimes drift apart. If the time comes that you are no longer together as a couple, there is still the child to consider.

Your Declaration of Parentage means you have the same rights to your child as the mother does. You can take it to court and get fair and equal visitation rights. You can apply for shared custody, in which the two of you will be required to co-parent the child.

If you are having a child with your partner, and you are not married, signing this form at the hospital is a wise choice. If you feel unsure, contact our paternity attorneys for more advice.