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What is an Action to Establish Parentage?

If you have a child(ren) and you are not married to the other parent, you may file a case to establish parentage. This means you are asking the court to say who the parents are.

You are also allowed to ask for child support, custody and visitation orders at the same time. Either parent or the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) can file this kind of case.

Because a parentage action says who the parents of a child are, it can give the child the right to support, claim inheritance or Social Security benefits.

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

In addition, check below if any of the following is applicable to your case:
Get assistance in filing out your forms through these FREE online services:

How to Fill Out and File Your Parentage Forms


To request the establishment of parentage, fill out and file these forms:

NOTE: The person who starts the case is the Petitioner. The other parent is the Respondent.

After you complete the forms, make 2 additional copies and bring them to the Lamoreaux Justice Center to file them. If you need help, go to a Self-Help Center for assistance. You may also attend a workshop:


If you are filing parentage forms with a Request for Order AND you are not asking for emergency/temporary orders, then file your papers at the Family Law Clerk’s Office (Lamoreaux Justice Center, room 706).

When you file your forms, the clerk will ask you to pay a fee. If you do not have enough money to pay the fees, ask the clerk for a fee waiver packet. Fill out the fee waiver forms, and turn your forms in to the Family Law Clerk’s Office. You may qualify for a Fee Waiver.


IMPORTANT: The Petitioner (the one who initially files) cannot serve the papers. For the purpose of this section, it is assumed that you are the Petitioner.

You must have someone personally serve the other party with copies of the forms you filled out and filed. The person who serves must be an adult (over 18) who is not a party to the action, or you may pay a professional process server (you can find one in the telephone book) who will serve the papers for you.

After serving, the person who serves the papers must complete a Proof of Service of Summons (FL-115). This form is then filed at the courthouse where the case was opened.

These are the forms you need to serve:


File the original Proof of Service at the Family Law Clerk’s Office at the Lamoreaux Justice Center.

How is notice accomplished in a case to establish parentage when one parent is deceased?

When one of the parents of a child is deceased and there are (1) no court orders in place about the child AND (2) no pending court cases about custody or guardianship of the child, the law requires that the person filing the parentage case give notice of the case to certain people related to the child. The reason for this law is to make sure that anyone who may have an interest in the child or the case has an opportunity to have a say in the case.

When a parent is deceased, the Summons and the Petition MUST be served on the following people:

  • the person or persons who have physical custody of the child (the people the child lives with)
  • the child's siblings, half-siblings, and the child's grandparents (on both sides), and
  • if the person filing the parentage case is NOT the child's living parent, the living parent must be served too, of course.

How to Get a Judgment in Your Parentage Case

If you need help filling out these forms, go to the Court’s Self-Help Center


If the other party files a Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (FL-220) and asks for a blood test or does not agree with the custody and visitation orders you asked for, you will need a TRIAL. To get a trial date, either party may file an At-Issue Memorandum for Trial Setting (L-0031). If you have orders from an Order to Show Cause Hearing, these orders are only temporary and you still need a trial or agreed upon judgment to finish your case.


If both parties agree, you can prepare a stipulated Judgment which is a judgment by agreement or when you go to Court let the clerk or the judge know that you have an agreement. The Self-Help Center can give you procedural assistance and forms for filing a stipulated Judgment.


If the other parent does not file a response within 30 days of being served, you can request that a default be entered and that a hearing be set.

These are the forms you will need to fill out and file:

Prepare one original and one copy of Memorandum for Setting for Hearing (L-0124). Prepare two self addressed envelopes, one for you and one for the other party.

You will get your court date in the mail and you will need to bring a prepared Judgment to the Default Hearing. If you would like your documents review, visit the Self-Help Center well in advance of your court date.

These are the Judgment forms you will need to fill out and bring with you:

Who Can View Parentage Cases?

The information in Parentage cases is confidential. The only people who can look in the court file are the parties in the case. If you are a party of a Parentage 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 Records Department of the Family Law Clerk’s Office at Lamoreaux Justice Center

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