Hello, yumyumcity, and congratulations! Here's hoping everything goes smoothly.
I trust you ALREADY have a written gestational surrogacy agreement
with your sister, since she's already pregnant (hooray!) and you're
talking about filing in court. If you don't, it isn't the end of the
world by any means, but you really should.
If you are reasonably diligent and organized, and you can follow
directions well, AND if your sister does not contest parentage, then
you should be able to represent yourselves through this process.
However, I can't stress this enough: IF YOUR SISTER CONTESTS YOUR
PARENTAGE AT ANY POINT, GET A LAWYER!
What you are obtaining here is NOT LEGAL ADVICE -- it's an overview of
the published information that is available to the public.
Let me start you with an overview of the legal principles, in an
excellent article on the Web:
"In all cases where a surrogate gives birth to a child for another
couple or person, The California Office of Vital Records will only
allow the intended parents' name(s) to go on the birth certificate if
the certificate is accompanied by a Superior Court judgment naming the
intended parent(s) as the legal parent(s) of the child. Without such a
judgment, the surrogate's name (and if she is married, her husband's
name) must go on the birth certificate. Because the birth certificate
must be registered with the office of Vital Records within ten days of
the birth, the judgment should be presented to the birth records
department of the hospital at the time of birth. As a practical
matter, the judgment should be obtained no later than twenty weeks
into the pregnancy. The practical reason for this advice is that after
twenty weeks Vital Records will require either a certificate of birth
or fetal death, both of which require the parent's name(s)."
Read the whole thing, but note that you are getting started at the
right time. Don't wait any longer.
Here is more useful information (don't worry, I'll get to the
Sacramento County forms and procedures, but this general overview of
the law is good to have):
Here is the place to start for Sacramento County, California.
Sacramento County Superior Court has put out a VERY USEFUL information
packet: "Starting a Uniform Parentage Act Case"
More useful information at:
"If you intend to represent yourself, it may be helpful to drop by the
Self-Help Center located in Room 113 of the William R. Ridgeway Family
Relations Courthouse at 3341 Power Inn Road. The Self-Help Center
offers services to help you represent yourself in both family law and
probate court matters. The center houses the Family Law Facilitator's
Office and the Probate legal clinic sponsored by the Voluntary Legal
Services Program, and a community resources information and referral
service. At the center, staff and volunteers assist you in filling
out forms and provide information about legal procedures. These
services are available free of charge."
Here's more information about the Self-Help Center:
You are going to need California Uniform Parentage Act Forms, and also
specific Sacramento County forms. For the Uniform Parentage Act
Forms, go to http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/forms.cgi
The bar in the middle that says, "No form group selected" -- scroll
through it until you get to "Family Law - Parentage Actions."
Choose the following forms:
FL-200 Petition to Establish Parental Relationships (Uniform Parentage)
FL-230 Declaration for Default or Uncontested Judgment
FL-235 Advisement and Waiver of Rights Re: Establishment of Parental
Relationship (Uniform Parentage)
FL-240 Stipulation for Entry of Judgment Re: Establishment of Parental
Relationship (Uniform Parentage)
FL-250 Judgment (Uniform Parentage?Custody and Support)
You will also need these specific Sacramento County forms:
Civil Case Cover Sheet
The filing fee is going to be $320, plus $20 to file the stipulation and judgment.
First paper fee is $320 (number 73 on the list)
Stipulation and order not requiring a hearing, $20 (no. 82 on the list)
Here are the Sacramento local rules:
Here is an information packet from the Sacramento Court on getting a
judgment by default in a Uniform Parentage Act case:
Since you aren't requesting child support, you shouldn't need a
hearing if you've filled out all the documents correctly.
You will want to file all of the documents together, and tell the
court clerk that you are seeking an uncontested judgment based on the
stipulation. It shouldn't take very long -- AS LONG AS your sister's
signature is on the stipulation and she isn't contesting parentage.
Here are more self-help resources:
I hope this information has been helpful. If there's anything further
I can provide, please don't hesitate to ask for clarification before
rating the answer, and I'll be happy to clarify whatever I can.