Signing a Declaration of Paternity
The Declaration of Paternity is a legal document that will establish paternity. You do not have to complete or sign this form. If any part of this form does not make sense to you, talk to your local Child Support Agency or a lawyer before signing the form. The Declaration of Paternity must be signed before a witness. The witness must also sign the Declaration of Paternity. A signed Declaration of Paternity states that a man is the father. The Declaration has the same effect as a court order establishing paternity for the child.
If either parent later changes their mind about signing the form, you must complete a form to rescind or cancel the Declaration of Paternity and file it with the State Office of Vital Records within 60 days from the date you signed the original Declaration of Paternity. You can get a rescission form from San Mateo County DCSS or your local office of vital statistics, or the Department of Child Support website.
This Declaration of Paternity may be challenged in court only in the first two years after the child's birth, by using genetic tests that prove the man is not the biological father. It also may be overturned if the father or mother is able to prove that she/he signed the form because of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.
If either or both parents are under the age of 18, a Declaration of Paternity will not establish paternity until 60 days after parents are age 18 or are emancipated. If you wish to legally establish paternity before both of you become adults, you should consult an attorney or San Mateo County DCSS. You have the right to a court hearing to decide the issue of paternity; to notice on any hearing on the issue of paternity; to have the opportunity to present your case to the court, including the right to present and cross examine witnesses; to have an attorney represent you; or to have an attorney appointed to represent you if you cannot afford one in an action filed by San Mateo County DCSS. By signing this declaration, you are, by your choice, giving up all of these rights.
For more information about the establishment of paternity or child support, please contact San Mateo County DCSS.