As a recap, in one of my earliest posts I talked about filling out the Petition to Adjudicate Parentage in order to file paternity. If you’ll recall, I went step by step down the application. I’m not going to rehash it, if you’re needing help going over the petition, check out that post here. I also talked about the process of DNA testing, which is required if someone is questioning their parentage or if the alleged father is deceased. You can find that post here.
Now after 5 months since my first post, I finally got the money together to pay for the court filing fees, so it’s time to go over that lovely process here! It wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked. If you can afford an attorney, at all costs get an attorney. They will do this process in one smooth move and you will be carefree and oblivious to the technicalities. But not many single moms have that kind of money.
(Some links contained in this post may be affiliate links. Anything you purchase by clicking that link may earn me a commission off that purchase. It is at no additional cost to you but comes out of the regular price of the item and helps me support my baby! That being said, any links to the e-filing system is not affiliate links.)
Filing for Paternity through E-filing
In Texas, we have this lovely thing called e-filing where we scan our signed documents in and attach it through a state approved filing service. It’s actually pretty awesome. First, we go here to https://www.efiletexas.gov/ and select the option “No, choose an e-filing service provider”. You could just pick one of the selections as a hail mary, like I did, and hope you get lucky. Or you could go here and compare the options (some have fees for this and that).
No, I didn’t actually just pick one as a hail mary. I’ve told you before that I used to work for an estate planning and probate attorney, right? While I had not actually filed anything myself, I had seen the name and the website of the e-filing option they used and it only made sense to go with it. That option was actually the first option, the “State Provided EFSP.” You then want to click the link under the logo and it will take you to a page where you can then hit “register.”
You’ll fill out all of the registration information and hit submit. Everytime thereafter when you go to the efiletexas.gov website, you’ll click the drop down under “Yes” and select the “State Provided EFSP” option. It will take you directly to the page where you can hit sign in.
First off you’ll choose to “Start A New Case” but remember in the future when submitting documents as requested, you’ll choose the “File Into Existing Case” option.
You’re going to want to type in your county in the “Location” box and select the “District Court” option. (All of this is for Texas, obviously. Out of state, you’ll have to figure out what your court systems are called and what functions they consist of.) Category is obviously regarding the “Parent Child Relationship” and then you’ll have to pick the paternity option in the drop down box on the right.
In regards to “Procedures/Remedies,” I am not an attorney. Again. Let’s just get that out of the way. Seek an attorney if you want guaranteed information as to what is supposed to go here. I went with “Declaratory Judgment” because as I was reviewing all of the options available on the Civil Information sheet where I initially got this, there was really nothing else that fit the bill. So I went with it. I’m sure if it was not the right option, they would have rejected me a third time for that! Hit “Save Changes” to proceed.
Input of Information
The first person you’re going to want to fill out for is you. You are the petitioner. Click that button and it will fill in the information you registered with. All you will need to do after that is select “Pro Se” in place of your attorney and input your social security number then hit “Save Changes.”
Don’t do what I did and enter your minor child. They won’t allow you to change the second person you enter to the minor child. It will always read as the “respondent.” The respondent is the alleged father. So fill in his information here. Save Changes.
THEN hit the “Add Another Party” button under the respondent and enter the information for your minor child(ren). Save Changes.
Attachment of Documents
This is where I initially goofed. I uploaded the Civil Information Sheet as the first page of the entire document. They rejected it straight away without review of the rest of the document and asked me to resubmit it with both documents (Civil Information Sheet and Petition to Adjudicate Parentage packet) as separate documents. I didn’t even realize I could do that. So be sure you scanned your documents in separately.
Attach the Civil Information Sheet first. I opted for “Application” as the “filing code” and they accepted it. Be sure and add your email address in the “courtesy copies” section, download the document, and hit save changes. For the Civil Information sheet, I didn’t bother to mark it as containing sensitive information. Anything on there they will be able to obtain somewhere else. SAVE CHANGES!
Hit the “Add Another Filing” button there. Very small and very easily to skip over and it leaves you scratching your head as to how you’re supposed to attach the actual petition!
With this one, it had been so long since I had actually gone over the petition that I went ahead and marked it as containing sensitive information and then clicked the “Auto-Redaction” tool button. When reviewing the document later, it only redacted the baby’s date of birth. You could probably just skip over this in the future, unless you live in a different state and/or the document you are submitting contains your social security number, drivers license number, and so on. Auto-redact that! SAVE CHANGES. (Also don’t forget to include your email address in the courtesy copies section.)
It’s time to pay up!
You have to pay for the filing fees. In my county, the filing fees totaled to $282 + $8.15. Don’t ask me what the $8.15 was for. I didn’t care as I already had it budgeted for. Also note, while it puts a hold for that amount of money on your card, it doesn’t actually post to the account until they have accepted your filing. If they reject it, then it doesn’t charge your account. I know this without a shadow of a doubt. They rejected it twice and two times I had to wait almost a week for the charge to completely remove itself so there was no issues attempting the next filing. Because even though it wouldn’t have posted, it wouldn’t have let me pay for it without that amount being available and the pending charges were still showing taking up that space.
Once all of this has been done and you hit save changes then hit summary. It will give you a chance to review everything that you just input before submitting it. Go ahead and look through it to make sure it’s all correct before submitting. And print a copy of the receipt! Keep a copy for your records in case there are any questions!
I already told you the first time they rejected my filing was because I had attached the two documents together. The second time they rejected it was because the courts changed their request in how they want the “In the interest of” section to be filled out. If you’re looking at the Texas form, it advises us to style it with the first initial, middle initial, and then full last name. Which is exactly how I did it. But they changed their minds, rejected it, and asked me to draw a line through it and write her full name out. My document no longer looks very pretty. Sadness.
Don’t forget to print receipts for filings and keep copies of everything. You never know what could come up. I now eagerly await the next step in this process. Which I have no idea what it will be. I have the DNA results standing by awaiting their request. I also am dreading the chance I will get the order to hire an attorney ad litem for the deceased respondent. I’m hoping that won’t be necessary.
Dealing with the courts can be such a hassle. It’s also somewhat lengthy for those of us who just really don’t have a lot of patience. But my entire life has been on hold until now. This will only be a drop in the bucket of life’s hiccups. Think of how many other things take years and years to accomplish and this will only take a few months. I hope this post was helpful to you.
Join my band of Gypsy Mothers!
If this was helpful, would you consider joining my band of Gypsy Mothers? If it was helpful, than you and I are no doubt in similar boats on this sea of life. Let’s band together and rock this journey together!