What do these papers mean?
Petition and Summons (forms FL-200 and FL-210)
If you received these forms, someone is asking a judge to determine if they or you are the legal parent of a child (called parentage, or formerly paternity).
If you are a child's legal parent, they may also be asking the judge to make orders about the child's care and support.
This page will help you understand what the forms mean and your options for what to do next.
Decide if you'll respond within 30 days
If you respond, this means you will participate in this parentage court case and have input on any court decisions. You and the other person may still agree and not need to go to court. If you don’t agree, you can use a court process to have the court decide.
File your Response within 30 days of getting the Petition. After 30 days, the petitioner can ask for a default and the court can decide the case without you.
You can choose not to respond because you and the other person already have a written agreement. This is called a default with an agreement. The court will decide the case based on the information the other person provides.
Consider getting help
This website has information to walk you through the basic process. But, you may need more help or legal advice.
Get free help from the court. The court where the case is filed has a program where they offer free legal information about parentage cases. Learn more about the court’s Family Law Facilitator or Self-Help Center.
Hire a lawyer to help you with all or a part of your case. Even though it’s possible to do this process without a lawyer, you may wish to hire a lawyer.
Select the options below to learn more about what happens next in each situation. You can also get step-by-step instructions and the forms you need for responding to the court case.
Respond to parentage papers
Get step-by-step instructions for how to respond to parentage papers and participate in the process.
Don’t respond, because you already have an agreement
Learn more about default with an agreement. The court will decide based on information from the other person, including your agreement.
Learn more about a default. This means the other person can move the case forward without your input.