Paternity Cases

Paternity cases involve non-married parents.  All issues surrounding your child such as child support, custody and parenting time are addressed through a paternity action.  All cases start with the filing of a complaint.  If you are initiating a new action, please see “forms for filing a new complaint”.  Once a case is filed, the caption (party v. party) and case number remain the same forever.  If you already have a case that has been addressed by the Court, but want the Court to address a particular issue, you must file a motion.  If this is the case, please see “filing motion”.

When you file anything with the Court, you must provide all required forms and include all requested information. If the forms are incomplete, absent, or illegible, the court may deny your request for a court order or a hearing. If you do not know an answer to a request for information, you must state "unknown". Once the paperwork is filed and assigned a case number, you will use that case number in all later hearings and motions that relate to that case and orders issued by the court in that case.

In addition to preparing all papers, you must also pay a filing fee or "deposit" to the Juvenile Court at the time you file them. The filing fee is $125.00 for a new complaint and $100.00 for a new motion. If you are indigent (cannot pay), you may request the Court grant you the ability to file a complaint or motion without making a deposit.  To request this you will need to complete the "poverty motion, affidavit and JE" to file with your papers. The judgment entry (JE) should be given to the clerk when you submit your poverty motion and affidavit.  The clerk will ensure the filing is seen by the Judge or Magistrate who will determine whether or not your request will be granted.  Please keep in mind that if this request is granted by the Court, it is only relieving you of paying a deposit.  You will still be required to pay the court costs at the end of the proceedings.  Please note that all previously assessed court costs owed by the party filing must be paid prior to the court accepting any new motion.

Some circumstances may arise for which there are no standard forms and you will need to write your own motions.  You will need to write out or type what you want the court to do and why. All correspondence with the court should be in the form of a motion. The court does not accept letters directly to the Judge or Magistrate, nor will you be able to speak directly to the Judge or Magistrate unless it is in a hearing with all parties present.

Anything that you file with the court must be served on all other parties. That means that you have to send a copy to your child's other parent, your child's guardian, guardian ad litem, or anyone else named as a party to the case.

By law, court employees, including deputy clerks, are not allowed to give legal advice. They have no law degree and could be prosecuted for practicing law without a license.  Deputy clerks may look over paperwork to see that the right blanks have been filled in or that you provided the necessary names and addresses and signed at the right location, but they CANNOT tell you if the content of your filing is adequate or will satisfy the requirements of the court. Any legal questions should be directed to an attorney.

If a clerk does not answer a question, it is not that she does not want to be helpful; but she is following the court’s policy to uphold the law that does not allow her to offer legal advice.  Unfortunately, paternity actions do not qualify for free court-appointed counsel.

Forms Required for Filing a New Complaint:

  1. Complaint for Parentage
  2. IV D Application
  3. Parenting Affidavit
  4. Request for Service
  5. CPSU Involvement

Forms for Filing a Motion:

  1. Pick appropriate motion
  2. Request for Service
  3. CPSU Involvement Form

Other Issues and Frequently Asked Questions:

What if I cannot pay the deposit?

You can file a Motion to Waive Filing Fee with any complaint or motion.  You will be required to show that you cannot pay.

What if my child’s other parent and I wish to consent to a child support modification?

You can file the Consent Child Support Motion along with the Consent Child Support Judgment Entry.

What if I cannot find the other party to serve them or provide an address?

You must serve the other party.  If you immediately locate them, you must make diligent efforts to find them.  If you still cannot locate them, you can file a Request for Service by Publication.  You will be required to file an additional $100.00.

What is a shared parenting plan and where do I find one?

A court cannot grant shared parenting in a custody case unless one or both of the parties files a shared parenting plan.  A sample one can be found here: Shared Parenting Plan.