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Determining paternity can vary from state to state, however in Washington, it is mostly straight forward. The mother is lawfully recognized at birth and her name will be automatically included on the birth certificate. There may be more steps to determine paternity because at the time of birth, paternity can be voluntary or involuntary.
What is Establishing Paternity?
Establishing paternity means the state legally recognizes the father of the child. There are multiple ways to determine paternity. If the parents are legally married at the time of birth, the husband is legally presumed to be the father.
If the parents are not married upon the birth of the child, paternity must first be determined in order for the father to be legally recognized. Once paternity is established, the father’s name will then be put on the child’s birth certificate. A father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form or will be awarded paternity involuntarily through a court mandated order.
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What if the Father is not Known?
If the father of the child is unknown, but there’s an idea of who it may be, that person can have a cheek swab done to determine whether they are genetically related to the child. It is possible for the court to order genetic testing, and if ignored, this can lead to legal repercussions. If a test turns up negative results, the court case will be dismissed.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
There are many more aspects than simply being the child’s legal parent. Doing so benefits the child, mother, and father.
It benefits the child by:
- Having a relationship both parents
- Access to medical and family history on both sides
- Access to benefits such as medical insurance, veterans benefits, etc.
It benefits the mother by:
- Sharing responsibilities of parenting
- Sharing the costs of raising child
It benefits the father by:
- Having legal access to visitation or custody rights
- Ability to contribute in the child’s life
Establishing Paternity Legal Advice
If you are uncertain about the establishment of paternity, legal advice is your best option. Professional attorneys know the ins and outs of establishing paternity in court and want you to receive the best possible outcome. We will study your case and determine the best course of action for you and your child.