DECLARATION OF PATERNITY: A Snapshot
What is it?
A form that when you complete, has the same effect as a court order as it establishes who the legal parents are of a child.
What does it do?
Since it establishes who are the child’s legal parents are, a parent can go to court and ask for orders to be made for the care of the child including but not limited to custody, visitation, and child support.
When is it signed?
How do I Get A Copy?
If you filed a Declaration of Paternity and want a copy of it, you can either complete a Request for a Filed Declaration of Paternity (CS 918) or send a letter to the Department of Child Support Services- POP Unit. If you use a letter for your request, please include all the identifying information about the child and parents shown above. Also include your name, mailing address and signature since you are making the request. See Appendix J, PG. 821 for more information.
Can I cancel it?
A Declaration of Paternity is a form used in California that, when signed by both parents, establishes them as the legal parents of the child. It is used when parents of a child who are not married want to establish themselves as the child’s legal parent. A properly signed Declaration of Paternity has the same effect as a court order from the judge. 
Your Local Child Support Agency (LCSA) can bring an action to establish the paternity/ parentage of your child. As part of this action, they will ask the court for a child support order. This service is free and is available to both parents. To begin, call the LCSA and ask for an appointment to open a case for parentage and support. You can open a case during the pregnancy and a genetic test can be ordered (if the other person denies being the parent) after the child is born. Also, when one parent is on welfare for the children (for example, if they receive Cal-Works or Medi-Cal), the LCSA automatically gets involved and opens a case. You may also want to contact your local department of child support services, registrar of births, family law facilitator or welfare office.
IMPORTANT: The local child support agency (LCSA) can be a helpful resource but they are not your lawyers and the information you provide will not be kept secret (confidential). The LSCA can also share certain information to other agencies, the other parent or your employer. If you need more advice or privacy, it would be best to contact a lawyer and/or your local legal aid office. 
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, “Incarcerated Parents Manual,” pg. 22, (updated 2015), available at http://www.prisonerswithchildren.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/IPM-final-2-12-2015.pdf ↑
Cal. Fam. Code § 7573. ↑