Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Unmarried Parents (Uniform Parentage Act Case)

General Information

To officially establish a parent-child relationship between a child (or children) and unmarried parents a case may be filed under 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 paternity action 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 paternity 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 Uniform Parentage Act Cases

Confidentiality of Hearings and Records:

A hearing or trial regarding Uniform Parentage Act Cases (UPA) may be held in a closed court without admittance of any person other than those necessary to the action or proceeding. Please contact the bailiff in the department your case will be heard when you arrive in the courtroom if you wish a closed court hearing.

All papers and records, other than the final judgment, pertaining to the UPA action or UPA proceeding 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 Uniform Parentage Act case, or 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:

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 or she was served with the Summons and Petition to Establish Parental Relationship, you are eligible to proceed by Default. However, a default judgment is not automatic.

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.