For unmarried parents, parentage needs to be established legally. Once legal parentage is established, the court can make orders about custody, visitation and child support. Other ways that a person can be established as a legal parent are: signing a Declaration of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born, or having a child support judgment entered establishing legal paternity.
The Petition to Establish a Parental Relationship is the pleading used when there is no legal father established for a child.
A Petition for Custody and Support is used when there is a legal father but there are no orders for custody or visitation.
If you already have an open case but do not have orders you may want to contact the Self-Help center for assistance and referral to the proper clinic.
The Self-Help Center offers a clinic that provides assistance in filling out the forms related to establishing an original custody or visitation order. Please check the clinic calendar for the “Petition for Custody and Support & Beginning Paternity” clinic.
For more information on paternity cases, click here.