Seattle Paternity Attorney

With more couples having children outside of marriage, it has become increasingly important to establish legal parentage. Legal parentage must be established in order for a couple who is not married to submit and receive court approval for a parenting plan.

Other reasons to establish paternity include setting child support, providing a child legal rights to inherit from the other parent, change the child's last name or merely to establish a legal relationship between the child and the parent. Of course, paternity actions also can be used to prove that a person is not the biological father of a child.

Parentage laws may apply to same-sex couples who have a child through assisted reproductive therapy or surrogacy. Contact me to help you review your rights in this situation.

Paternity of a child is most commonly established by both parents signing a paternity acknowledgement (formerly known as a paternity affidavit). If a paternity affidavit was signed before July 1, 1997 and filed with the Washington State Department of Health, it has the same effect as a court order establishing paternity. A paternity affidavit gives the person named as a child's father all of the legal rights and responsibilities of the child's parent, including the right to request custody or visitation, and the responsibility to provide child support.

If two parents are ending a nonmarital relationship and the legal parentage has not been established, the court may order the child and the person believed to be the father complete a DNA paternity test to confirm that person is the child's biological parent.

If your child lives in another state or a different state was your child's home state within the last six months, then that state will likely have jurisdiction over the child. In these instances, you will either have to wait until your child has lived in Washington for six months, or establish legal parentage in the child's home state.

Meet With A Knowledgeable Seattle Paternity Lawyer

Paternity matters are complex, but essential in order to resolve many family law issues. I can explain more about parenting plans for unmarried couples and answer your questions during a free initial consultation. Email me or call 206-971-9934 to schedule an appointment with an experienced family law attorney.