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Paternity Lawyer

Our Washington state paternity lawyer will guide you through the process of establishing or disestablishing legal paternity while championing your rights.

What is Paternity Law?

Paternity law in Washington State, as outlined in RCW 26.26, addresses the important legal recognition of a biological father’s relationship to a child. This can be achieved through voluntary acknowledgment, court order, or genetic testing.

Establishing paternity is crucial as it grants children access to the same rights and privileges as those whose parents are married. These include child support, inheritance rights, medical history, and access to family health and insurance benefits. Ensuring paternity is established is essential for safeguarding the well-being and future of children.

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Your rights will be protected, paving the way for a more certain future for the child.

Understanding Paternity

Paternity is the legal recognition of a child’s father, which directly impacts child custody, visitation rights, and child support provisions. Whether you’re establishing or disestablishing paternity, understanding these implications is crucial for protecting your family’s interests.

Establishing Paternity

In Washington State, paternity can be established through voluntary acknowledgment or court orders. Securing legal paternity offers numerous benefits, such as safeguarding parental rights and ensuring children have access to necessary financial support and social benefits.

Why is it Important to Hire a Lawyer to Establish Paternity?

Hiring a lawyer to help establish paternity can provide numerous advantages:

Legal Expertise

Navigating the legal system can be complex. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the process seamlessly.

Protection of Your Rights

Ensure your rights, and those of your child, are protected throughout the paternity establishment process.

Avoid Mistakes

A lawyer will ensure that all paperwork is correctly filled out and filed to avoid any potential errors or delays.

Disestablishing Paternity

There are circumstances where paternity may need to be challenged or disestablished. Our experienced paternity lawyers are well-versed in the specific legal processes in Washington State, ensuring you receive the best possible guidance for your unique situation.

Why is it Important to Hire a Lawyer to Establish Paternity?

Hiring a lawyer to help establish paternity can provide numerous advantages:

Complex Proceedings

Disestablishing paternity can be a complicated legal process, often requiring genetic testing and meticulous legal maneuvering.

Your Rights Are Protected

If you believe you've been wrongly identified as a child's father, a lawyer can help defend your rights.

Guidance

Mistakes in the disestablishment process can be costly. A lawyer will help you avoid common pitfalls.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Paternity Law

Who is The Child’s Father According to Washington State Law?

In Washington State, determining who the child’s father (or legal parent) is can be based on various circumstances and evidence. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) provides several ways through which a man can be recognized as a child’s legal father:

 

Presumption Based on Marriage or Domestic Partnership
When a child is born during a marriage or domestic partnership, or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, divorce, or legal separation, the husband or partner is presumed to be the child’s father. This presumption is in place to ensure clarity and provide stability for the child’s sake.

 

Acknowledgment of Paternity
To establish paternity without a court order, both the father and the child’s mother must sign an acknowledgment of paternity. This powerful document grants the legal rights of fatherhood. Remember, you may rescind the acknowledgment within a specific time frame. After that, it holds the same weight as a court judgment.

 

Court Adjudication
In cases of dispute or uncertainty regarding paternity, any party involved or even the state (e.g., when child support is at stake) has the right to bring the matter to court to establish paternity. The court has the authority to order genetic testing and, based on the evidence presented, make a determination on who the legal father is.

 

Assisted Reproduction
A man who consents to assisted reproduction with a woman, resulting in a birth, shall be recognized as the legal father of the child, unless the two have a different written agreement prior to the child’s birth.

 

De Facto Parentage
While not explicitly stated in the RCW, Washington courts have acknowledged the notion of “de facto” parentage in certain instances. A de facto parent is an individual who, although not a biological or adoptive parent, has developed a parent-child relationship through daily caregiving and bonding. This recognition emphasizes the importance of considering the child’s best interests and the unique circumstances surrounding their upbringing.

 

Adoption
A man assumes the legal fatherhood of a child when he adopts, thus acquiring all the rights and responsibilities of parenthood.

 

Being recognized as the legal father carries significant rights, such as custody and visitation, but also responsibilities, including child support. If there’s a question or dispute about paternity, it’s essential to consult with a family law attorney familiar with Washington State laws.

Legal paternity means the man is recognized by the law as the child’s father, whereas biological paternity means he is the child’s genetic father. A man can be a legal father without being the biological father.

Can a mother refuse a paternity test in Washington State?

A court can order a paternity test if there’s a dispute about the child’s parentage. If a party refuses, the court may make decisions based on the available evidence, which could be unfavorable.