Establishing Legal Parentage

Signing a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage will legally establish a child’s parentage if you are in any of the following situations.

To be ELIGIBLE, you must be EITHER:

  • An unmarried birth parent and the only possible genetic father.


  • Two people, married or unmarried, who had their child through assisted reproduction using sperm and/or egg donation, except if any donation was from their spouse.

Signing the Declaration will not legally establish a child’s parentage if you are in any of the following situations:

You are NOT ELIGIBLE when your situation includes:

  • Surrogacy
    • The parents have a surrogacy agreement for this child.
  • If uncertainty exists about the parentage of a child born through assisted reproduction.
  • One of you originally did not intend to be a parent but have changed your mind and now want to be recognized as a parent.
    • You agreed for this child to be conceived by sperm or egg donation, but there is uncertainty as to whether the child was produced by the donation or by sexual intercourse.
  • Assisted reproduction, spousal donation
    • This child was conceived by sperm or egg donation from your spouse.
  • Another parent exists
    • Someone else has already been declared to be a parent of this child by a court order.
    • The birth parent has already signed a Declaration for this child with someone else.
    • Someone other than the two people signing this form is an intended parent under an agreement for donated sperm or eggs.
    • Someone else was married to and living with the birth parent at the time of conception and birth of this child; or this child was born during that marriage or within 300 days of the end of that marriage.
    • The birth parent married someone after this child was born and that person is obligated (by a writing or court order) to pay support for this child.

                              (A Declaration of Parentage filed in any of the above situations WILL NOT be legally valid)


Eligible parents should establish legal parentage as soon as possible by completing and signing a Voluntary Declaration of Parentage. Eligible parents will need to have their signatures witnessed by an authorized witnessing agency.

California Family Code §7571(f) provides a list of authorized witnessing agencies.