Paternity

In Pennsylvania, when a child is born to a woman who is unmarried, there is no legal relationship between the father and the child.  The father of a child born to an unmarried woman is not the father for legal purposes.  Paternity is the way to establish legal fatherhood.

Philadelphia Legal Assistance does not provide advice or representation in paternity cases.

How to get help with Paternity

The following departments at PLA provide legal assistance with Paternity:

Intake Procedure:

Call the Family Law Intake Line at 215.981.3838 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between the hours of 09:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.  Callers are not able to leave a message.  The Family Law Intake Line may be closed early if call volume is high.

We recommend calling at least three weeks before your court date before a Master and at least six weeks before your hearing before a Judge.

PLA's Family Law Intake Line does not accept applications for assistance with divorce, child support, or spousal support.

Assistance for immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is available from PLA's Immigrant Women's Legal Assistance Hotline, which assists callers with legal problems including divorce, custody, child/spousal support, protection from abuse, and immigration.  Speakers of languages other than English and Spanish may leave a message with the Immigrant Women's Legal Assistance Hotline by calling 215.981.3838 at any time.

Self-Help Resources

Family Law for Teen Parents

A 54-page guide and an on-line quiz for teen parents about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to paternity, child custody, child support, protection from abuse, and emancipation.

Family Law Resource List

This is a list of organizations that provide assistance with family law cases.

Paternity of Children in Philadelphia County When Parents Are Not Married

This brochure explains what paternity is and how it is determined.

Planning for Custody and Care of Children: an Informational Guide for Immigrant Families

This guide is intended to give basic information under Pennsylvania law about custody of children and how to plan for and or deal with a change in circumstances due to a parent’s sudden or expected absence or inability to care for her/his children.  Available in Spanish.