Respond to parentage papers

To respond to a request to determine a parental relationship (a Petition), your first step is to fill out a Response form. If you don’t file a response within 30 days of getting the Petition form, the other person can ask for a default. If there's a default, the court won't let you file a response and can decide the case without you. 

Before you start

Get familiar with a few key concepts 

The way you fill out these forms will impact the outcome of your case, so it’s important to do it correctly. The forms include some terms that may be unfamiliar to you. You can read more about these terms: 

If it's been more than 30 days, check with the court to see if the other person got a default. If there isn’t a default, you can still file Response. If there is a default, talk to a lawyer or a Self-Help Center to learn more about your options.

Consider getting help 

How to respond to a parentage Petition

  • Fill out the Response form

    Fill out 2 forms:

    • Response to Petition to Determine Parental Relationship (form FL-220).  
    • Declaration under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) (form FL-105)

    If the other parent asked for, or you want, child support, you need to also fill out an Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150).

    Since you are the one responding, you’re called the Respondent. The person who started the case, typically the child's other parent, is the Petitioner

  • Figure out if you need a temporary order

    If you need a judge to decide something before the end of your case, you will need to file more papers to ask for a court date. For example, you may want a judge to decide and make orders about:

    • A visitation (parenting time) schedule

    • Child support and health insurance

    • Genetic (DNA) testing 

    Asking a judge to decide things like this is called requesting a temporary order. The judge’s decisions in a temporary order last until you have a final decision in the case (a judgment) or until another temporary order replaces it.  

    Learn how to ask for temporary orders

  • Find out if you have any local forms to complete

    Some courts have additional local forms they require you to use.   

    Contact your court clerk’s office, check your court’s website, or talk to your Family Law Facilitator or Self-Help Center to ask if they have any local forms you need to use.

  • Make copies of your forms

    After you’ve filled out the forms and signed the Response, make 2 copies of the Response and any other forms. 

Respond to a parentage case

What's next?

Once you’ve completed the forms and made copies, you need to have someone deliver (serve) your Response and file your papers with the court within 30 days of getting the Petition form.

Serve means to have someone 18 or older, not you, deliver a copy to the other person in your case (the Petitioner). You must also file a proof of service with the court to prove that you had a copy delivered to them.

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