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Establishing a Fact of Birth, Death and Marriage

This section explains what to do when you do not have proper evidence of a birth, death, or marriage. Click on a topic below to learn more:

  1. When does someone need to establish a Fact of Birth, Death or Marriage?
  2. Is there a court form I can use to do this?
  3. How do I file the Petition?
  4. How do I get a hearing date?
  5. How much is the filing fee?
  6. How do I get an Order that establishes a Fact of Birth, Death or Marriage?
  7. How do I get ready for the hearing?
  8. How do I register a delayed record of birth, death or marriage?

For more information, read Health and Safety Code Section 103450-103490 .

This page has information on how to Establish a Record of Birth, Death, or Marriage (Health and Safety Code Section 103450-103490) .

  1. When does someone need to establish a Fact of Birth, Death or Marriage?

    Here are some examples of situations when you may want to establish a:

    Fact of Birth When the original birth record was destroyed or is no longer obtainable.
    Fact of Death When someone died but the death was not registered in a timely manner.
    Fact of Marriage
    • If your marriage was not registered in a timely manner, or
    • You married outside the U.S. and you cannot get a certified marriage certificate, or
    • You were married in a religious ceremony but did not get a civil marriage license

  2. Is there a court form I can use to do this?

    No. But, if you have a good reason to establish a fact of birth, death or marriage, you can file a Petition. There are certain requirements: You must file your Petition in the county where you live or where the birth, death, or marriage took place.

    Your Petition must be typed and must include:

    • Place and date of the birth, death, or marriage
    • The reason you are asking to establish a fact of birth, death, or marriage
    • How you will benefit from establishing the fact of birth, death, or marriage.
    • A statement signed by you under penalty of perjury to verify all of the information in your Petition.
    • 2 notarized affidavits confirming the place and date of the birth, death, or marriage or a copy of the birth, death, or marriage certificate, if you have one. Any document not in English must be translated and notarized.

    Read Health and Safety Code Section 103450  to find more on how to write your Petition.

  3. How do I file the Petition?

    Bring your petition, and at least one copy to the Downtown Superior Court in San Jose. Go to the Probate Clerk’s Office on the first floor. The clerk will file your Petition and give you endorsed-filed copies of the petition.

  4. How do I get a hearing date?

    When you file your Petition, the clerk will give you the first available date. The Clerk will put the date, time, and department for your hearing on the copies of your petition.

  5. How much is the filing fee?

    The filing fee is listed on the Probate Fee Schedule under "Petition to establish birth, death, marriage." See the local fee schedule  on the Court's Fee page. You can pay by cash or check. Make your check payable to Superior Court.

  6. How do I get an Order that establishes a Fact of Birth, Death or Marriage?

    When you file your petition, the clerk will give you an Order. Fill out the Order carefully and take it to the Probate clerk five days before your hearing. You must type your information or write legibly in black ink. The Court will not accept your form if you have eraser marks, white-out or other changes to the text. If the judge approves your Petition, s/he will sign the Order.

  7. How do I get ready for the hearing?

    Come to court on the date and time written on your Petition. Arrive early. You’ll need extra time to park (see the map on the DTS Courthouse page), go through security and to find your courtroom.

    When the Judge calls your case, walk to the counsel table and give the clerk your completed Order, unless you have already filed it. The judge will sign it. The order goes into effect as soon as the judge signs it.

    After the hearing, take your order to the Probate Department on the 1st floor and file it. While you are there, buy extra, certified copies of your order. The clerk will charge you for these copies. (See the local fee schedule  on the Fees page for certification and copying fees).

  8. How do I register a delayed record of birth, death or marriage?

    Send a certified copy of your Order Establishing Fact of Birth, Death or Marriage to the Department of Health Services along with the completed Court Order Delayed Registration. (This is the second part of the order form.)

    The address is:

    Department of Health Services
    Office of Vital Records
    304 S Street,
    Post Office Box 73024
    Sacramento, CA 94244-0241

    See State Public Health website  for forms, information, etc.
© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara