When a child is born to parents who are not married, California law requires that a case to establish paternity be filed within a certain amount of time.
Here is an overview of what must happen and how long it takes:
- If your baby was born to unmarried parents in California, you could file an affidavit with Vital Records Services in Sacramento or your local county registrar to establish paternity. You must file within 60 days of the birth of your child.
- Vital Records Services will send you, with a copy for each parent, what is called an Acknowledgment of Paternity form to fill out. The parents are sent the documents because they both need to sign them before filing with Vital Records Services. This form states that the signers acknowledge that they are the child’s parents, and it also includes what is called a “presumed” name for your baby (in other words, what you want to name your baby).
- The Acknowledgment of Paternity must be notarized or witnessed by someone empowered by law to take oaths (for example, a judge or commissioner of the Superior Court).
- The original Acknowledgment of Paternity is filed with Vital Records Services, and a copy is given to you and each parent.
- Once the form has been filed, both parents’ names will be on your baby’s birth certificate.
- If the parents cannot agree to their child’s name, you will need to file a parentage case in court.
- It can be done through an attorney or by filing your case. You cannot file the Acknowledgment of Paternity with the court. The paternity case must be filed within two years after your child’s birth, but not more than four years after their birth, and the filing must be done in the county where you live or where your baby lives.
When it comes to California birth certificates, as a parent, you have a right to request a copy of the birth certificate for your child. If the other parent is not willing to sign a consent form, they can be notified by mail and respond within 30 days to avoid being stuck with a fee.
If you need a copy, you can fill out an application, and provide proof of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. If you were born outside the US, you must give legal entry into the country.
How long does it take?
It depends on whether the other parent is willing to sign consent forms so that you can get copies.
- You might want to file the Acknowledgment of Paternity to get your child’s name on their birth certificate. It usually only takes about 30 days.
- If you need to establish paternity, it can take up to 4 months if both parents are cooperative. If they are not cooperative, then it could take eight months or even longer.
A birth certificate in California is a vital document you might need to get things like your license or passport. You can also use it for proof of age in child custody cases.