Tips on Completing the Declaration of Paternity Form


Tip #1 Verify the form is complete.

To file a valid and error-free Declaration of Paternity with the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS), ALL the items listed on the form must be completed using blue or black ink.


Tip #2 Have a witness.

The declaration should be witnessed when the parents are unmarried, and the natural mother and biological father want to establish paternity (legal fatherhood) by signing the voluntary Declaration of Paternity in the hospital at the time the child is born. The Declaration of Paternity can be completed after the child is born and prior to the child turning 18 years old. In California, representatives from the agencies below are qualified to witness the Declaration of Paternity:


  • Family Law Facilitator
  • Local Registrar of Births & Deaths
  • Department of Social Services
  • Notary Public
  • Birthing Hospitals
  • Local Child Support Agencies


NOTE: Same-sex partners cannot sign the Declaration of Paternity.


Tip #3 Return the Original Declaration to DCSS timely.

A Declaration of Paternity must be completed, signed by both parents with signatures properly witnessed, and filed with the California Department of Child Support Services before legal paternity is established. The original declaration must be forwarded to DCSS within 20 days from signing of the declaration.