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
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.