Filing a Paternity Case

Opening a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (Paternity) Case

These instructions will help you open your case. There are additional forms you will need to submit in order to finalize your case. If you do not have an attorney, the Family Law Facilitator's Office is available to assist you with preparing the paperwork.

Step 1: Filling out the paperwork

Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (JC Form # FL-200) : Fill this out completely.

Summons (JC Form # FL-210) : Fill out the first page. This lets the other party know that they are being sued and that they have 30 days to respond. Page two contains automatic restraining orders that apply to both parties during the case.

UCCJEA (JC Form # FL-105) : Fill this out completely. List where the child(ren) have lived for the last five years and if anyone else has a custody claim on them. If you are unsure of where the child(ren) live(s), you may write "unknown."

Family Law Certificate of Assignment (SDSC Form # D-49) : Fill this out completely. This lets the court know you are filing the case at the specified location because you or the other party reside within its jurisdiction.

Step 2: Filing the paperwork

You may file electronically or, if you want to file in person at the courthouse, sign and date the paperwork that you filled out in Step 1 and make two copies. Bring the originals and two copies to the court for filing. There is a fee to file your Petition with the court. The court accepts cash, check, Visa, Master Card or American Express. Checks should be made payable to "Clerk of the Court." If you are unable to pay the filing fees, you may complete an Application for Waiver of Court Fees and Costs (JC Form # FW-001).

If filing in person, the case must be filed at the location specified on the paperwork. The court clerk will return the two copies after affixing the court stamp and case number. One copy is for your records; the other is for service on the Respondent.

Step 3: Serving the papers

You must serve a copy of all the papers on the other party, along with a blank Response to Petition to Establish Parental Relationship (JC Form # FL-220) and blank UCCJEA (JC Form # FL-105). The other party must be personally served by someone other than you. The person serving the papers must be over the age of 18.

Step 4: Filling out the proof of service

The person who serves the paperwork on the other party needs to complete the Proof of Service of Summons (JC Form # FL-115). Make sure the address where the other party was served and the date and time of service are complete. As with anything you file with the court, you should provide the clerk with the original and two copies.