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Parentage

  1. What a parentage case is and when to file an Action to Establish Parentage?
  2. How to get a judgment in your parentage case
  3. Who can view parentage cases?
  1. What a parentage case is and when to file an Action to Establish Parentage?
    If you have children and are not married to the other parent, you must file a case to establish parentage. This means you are asking the Court to determine the parents of the children.

    You may also request child support, custody, and visitation orders at the same time. Either the mother, the father, the child, or the Alameda County Department of Child Support Services (ACDCSS) may file this kind of case.

    Because a parentage action determines the parents of a child, it gives the child the right to receive support and Social Security benefits, and claim inheritance.

    Remember: you are asking for a parentage judgment, not just custody or support orders

    Forms you will need

    You may obtain a Paternity Packet from the Family Law Clerk’s office at any courthouse in Alameda County. To start an action to establish parentage, fill out and file these forms:
    • Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-220)
    • Summons (Form FL-210)
    • Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (Form FL-120)

    You can download all the forms you need to file a Parentage action for free. Just use the links in this section. For more help you may also go to the Family Law Facilitator.
    Fill out your forms neatly in blue or black ink, or type them out.

    How to fill out and file your parentage forms

    Step 1: Fill out the forms
    Fill out the forms for starting your case. If you need help, you may contact the Family Law Facilitator for assistance and referrals to other organizations that may help you.

    The parent who starts the case is the Petitioner. The other parent is the Respondent.

    After you fill out the forms, make 2 copies.

    Step 2: File the forms
    Take your completed forms and copies to the Family Law Clerk’s office at the Alameda County courthouse nearest you, or where the matter will be heard, to file them. The place where you file is not necessarily the court location where your matter will be heard. Be sure you have the correct court location written on your papers to identify where your matter will actually be heard.

    If you are filing parentage forms to start your case and also asking for:
    • a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
    • an Order to Show Cause (with or without emergency/temporary orders)
    • a Fee Waiver

    Take these additional completed forms (and 2 copies) to the Cllerk’s Office to be filed also.

    The clerk will file the original forms, stamp your copies, and return the copies to you. If you are asking for a hearing about domestic violence, custody, visitation, or support, the clerk will also give you a hearing date to come to court.

    When you file your forms, the clerk will ask you to pay a fee. If you can’t afford to pay the fees, ask the clerk for a fee waiver packet. Fill out the fee waiver form and turn your form in to the clerk who will provide additional information about the approval process.  If the judge decides you need to pay some or all of the fees, you will have 10 days to make full payment of the amount you owe.

    Step 3: Serve the forms
    You must have someone personally serve the other parent with copies of the forms you filled out and filed. This includes:
    • Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-220)
    • Summons (Form FL-210)
    • Declaration Under UCCJEA (Form FL-120)
    • Any additional forms you filed (Order to Show Cause, Income and Expense forms)
    DO NOT SERVE ANY FEE WAIVER APPLICATION OR ORDER.

    The person who serves the other parent must also serve a blank copy of:
    • Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-220)
    • Declaration under UCCJEA (Form FL-105)
    • Advisement and Waiver of Rights (Form FL-235)
    • Responsive Declaration (if you also filed Order to Show Cause papers) (Form FL-320)
    • Income and Expense Declaration (if seeking child support) (Form FL-150)

    Remember: You cannot serve the papers yourself.

    The person who serves the papers must complete a "Proof of Service of Summons" (Form FL-115). The proof of service says he or she has delivered the papers to the other parent.

    Step 4: File the Proof of Service
    File the original of the Proof of Service at the Clerk’s Office as soon as possible and bring 2 copies for the clerk to stamp “filed” for you. Keep the copies in your records and bring them to court with you when you go to your hearing.


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  3. How to get a judgment in your parentage case
    1. Contested
      The case is contested if the other party files a Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Form FL-220) and asks for a blood test or comes to a hearing and also asks for a blood test or does not agree with the custody, visitation, or support orders you asked for.

      If you have an issue regarding custody and/or visitation, the court will ask you to see a mediator at the Family Dispute Resolution Service office before the judge makes a decision about those issues at a hearing.

      Once the judge makes a final determination of who the parents are and issues orders about custody, visitation, and child support, at a trial or hearing, then a Judgment can be made. There is a form for this in your Paternity Packet.

    2. Agreement
      If you and the other parent agree that you are both the child’s parents and agree on the child support, custody and visitation arrangements between you, you should write up your agreement. This can be done at a court hearing or, preferably, before the hearing. The Family Law Facilitator can provide information on how to write your agreement and what must be included (it must include an agreement about child support) so you can have it signed by a judge and file it with the court.

    3. Default
      When the other parent does not file a Response to your Petition to Establish Parental Relationship within 30 days after service of the papers on them, you may obtain a judgment by "default".

      Fill out a Request For Entry of Default (Form FL-165). This means you are asking the Court to say who the child’s parents are even though the other parent didn’t file a Response. You will also need to fill out a Declaration for Default or Uncontested Judgment (Form FL-230) and your proposed Judgment (Form FL-250)(with all appropriate attachments), and a Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form FL-190).

      Bring the completed forms and 2 copies to the clerk’s office to file the default request and for the clerk to give the Declaration and proposed Judgment to the judge for review and signing. Provide the clerk with 3 addressed and stamped envelopes – 2 addressed to yourself, and 1 addressed to the other parent (be sure you provide sufficient postage).
      • The Clerk’s Office will mail you a copy of your Request For Entry of Default if the Court enters the other party’s default.
      • The Clerk’s Office will mail a copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgment and to you and the other parent once the judgment is signed by the judge (be sure to provide big enough envelopes and enough postage for all the papers to be returned to you).

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  5. Who can view parentage cases?
    The information in parentage cases is private. The only people who can look in the court file are the mother and father in the case. If you are either the mother or father in the case, and you want to look at the court file, you need to:
    • Bring a driver's license or government identification card with you
    • Go to the filing section of the clerk’s office of the courthouse where the case is being heard to view the court file.
    For information on the Family Clerk’s Office, click here. For the locations of the Family Law division of the court in Alameda County, click here.


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