You need to respond immediately! You have only 20 days to respond to their “Establishment Petition,” or everything that they requested in that petition will be granted and become an order. Bear in mind, the Department of Health and Welfare has no jurisdiction regarding custody, and the resulting order will only provide/order that you pay child support and medical insurance. Their new order will not grant you any decision making authority, custody or visitation with your child. The best you can hope for by filing an “answer” is to affect the child support amount, if they have wrong or incomplete information. Sometimes, they go off of incorrect wage information provided by other parent; sometimes, they are unaware that you have other children, either living with you, or that you are paying support for; sometimes, they include non-mandatory overtime income in their calculations. These things can and should be challenged. A better alternative might be for you to file your own “Establishment Petition” for Paternity, Custody, Visitation and Support. If you file before the Department of Health and Welfare obtains their Order, and you serve them with a copy of your Petition, they will have to suspend or dismiss their case until yours is resolved. We can help. We are a non-attorney legal document preparation service, and our typical fee is $250.