Paternity Opportunity Program


When a child is born to unmarried parents, the father does not automatically have the legal rights of a parent and will not be added to the birth certificate. To get legal rights as the father of the child, there are two options:

  • Sign a Declaration of Paternity
  • Get a court order which legally establishes paternity (fatherhood) and pay a fee to amend the birth certificate.


The Paternity Opportunity Program (POP) is a free and easy way to establish paternity without having to go to court.

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  • What is the declaration of paternity?

    The Declaration of Paternity is a legal form that, once filed with the state, voluntarily establishes legal paternity (Fatherhood) and is the equivalent of a court order. Unmarried parents complete and sign the declaration after the child is born.

    If you have questions, contact the San Diego POP coordinator at 858-650-5324 or by email at

  • When and where can parents sign the declaration?

    All hospitals in San Diego County participate in the POP program. After the baby is born, the unmarried mother and father will be asked if they want to complete the Declaration of Paternity. When parents complete the form in the hospital, the father’s name can be added to the child’s original birth certificate.

    Parents can also complete the declaration at the following locations after they leave the hospital:

    Parents can also request the declaration be mailed to them and sign the forms later in front of a notary. To have the declaration mailed to you, please contact the office.

    Military fathers-to-be on deployment can sign the declaration before the child is born if they cannot be present at the birth of their child. Proof of military orders must be provided and attached to the declaration. Click here for more information.

  • How can we get a copy of the declaration?

    To request a copy of the filed declaration, click here. Either parent must complete the request form or send a written request with signature indicating if a certified copy or a faxed copy is needed to:

          California Department of Child Support Services
          P.O. Box 41970
          Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9070

    If writing a request, provide the following information:

    • Child’s complete name, date of birth, and county of birth
    • Mother’s and father’s complete names and dates of birth
    • Name of the parent making the request
    • Mailing address and phone number
    • Fax number, if requesting a faxed copy
    • Relationship to the child
    • Original signature; It will not be processed without it.

    Please allow 10 working days for your request to be processed.

    If you have questions about the POP Program, contact the San Diego County POP Coordinator at 858-650-5324 or by email at

  • How can we cancel the declaration?

    Either parent may cancel or rescind the declaration by completing a Rescission of Paternity form. This form must be mailed to the California DCSS within 60 days of the original date the paternity declaration was signed.

    You may get a copy of the rescission form by contacting the local DCSS or on the state DCSS web site.





Frequently Asked Questions

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