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Establish Parentage

Who can use this service?

Anyone can use this service.

Is there a charge for this service?

This service is provided free of charge.

When and where is this service offered?

This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get child support if I’m not sure who the other parent of my child is?

No. Parentage (a legal determination of who the parents are) must be established before child support can be ordered. Parentage gives your child many rights, including child support, access to medical records, government benefits and more. However, you can get CalWORKS without defined parentage.

Can I start my case while I’m pregnant, before my baby is born?

You may start the paperwork to establish parentage when you are pregnant. The Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) can only open and pursue the case after the child is born. If the person you believe is the other parent denies that they are, a genetic test can be ordered after your baby is born. (Some labs will only perform genetic tests after a child is six (6) months of age or older). Genetic tests can be scheduled through the LCSA.

Can parentage be established for my child if the other parent lives in another state?

Yes. The Local Child Support Agency will ask for a genetic test from the court in the other state. Also, a parent can sign a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage (VDOP) declaring they are the child's parent even if they live in another state.

The other parent doesn’t have any money or a job to support our child. Why should I bother proving that they are the parent?

If you don’t establish parentage, your child will not be able to get child support or health insurance even after the alleged parent gets a job. Proving parentage as soon as possible makes collecting child support easier later on.

What if the other parent leaves the state before it’s proven that they are a parent?

The local court may use information they have to decide parentage without them. If parentage is established without the alleged parent’s cooperation, the Court may order them to pay child support no matter where they live, even if they are out of California.

Where can I get the official Voluntary Declaration of Parentage form?

You can request the Voluntary Declaration of Parentage form by sending your mailing address to [email protected].

The Voluntary Declaration of Parentage form is also available at:

  • A local child support agency.
  • Local Registrars of Births and Deaths
  • County Family Law Facilitators Offices at all superior courts in California
  • County Departments of Social Services
  • Licensed birthing units at public and private hospitals

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