What happens when you split if you weren't married but you have a child together?

What do you do about custody, visitation, and child support when you and your significant other breakup, but you weren’t married?

This type of case is called a parentage case. What this means is that you will need to ask the court to confirm that you and your ex are the parents of your child(ren) in addition to asking it to set up custody, visitation, and support orders. This is required because under California law when a child is born to married parents, there is a presumption the married couple is the parents of that child. The presumption does not exist where the parties weren’t married.

A parentage action can be filed using form FL-200, “Petition to Establish Parental Relationship,” and form FL-201, “Summons, Parentage – Custody, and Support,” and FL-105, “Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).” These forms require some basic information about you, your ex, and your children. You’ll need to provide full names, birthdates, ages, and sexes for all children. You’ll also need to be able to tell the court why it should be able to make orders to your ex (take jurisdiction). Generally, this is because your ex lives in California or the children were conceived in California. You will usually bring this case in the county where the children are living. This action can be filed by either parent. You’ll be able to let the court know what you are requesting for custody and visitation.

In some cases, you may have filled out and signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDOP) sometime around the child’s birth. These are commonly filled out at the hospital. A VDOP is a statement that the father of the child is freely stating that he is that child’s parent. If you have a VDOP, let the court know that and attach a copy.

You will need to fill out form FL-105 to let the court know where the children have lived and if there are any other cases that involve them, regardless of where those cases are.

By filing a parentage action, you give the court permission to make child support orders for your case. To learn more about child support, click here.

If you have questions about filing a parentage action or about child custody and visitation, please contact Romanovska Law to learn more.

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