Currently, Washington child support law typically assumes that a man is a child’s father if he was married to the child’s mother close to the child’s birth date. Usually, a father has four years to challenge the presumption that he is a child’s father. If the father later learns, through genetic testing, that he is not the child’s father then he has no legal recourse and may still be required to support the child.
A Female Washington State Senator Wants to Change That
Recently, Republican State Senator Jan Angel of Port Orchard proposed a bill (Senate Bill 5997) that would allow a man to go to court to challenge his status as a child’s father if he has genetic tests to prove that he is not the father. Pursuant to the proposed bill, a man would be able to do this at any time within two years of receiving the genetic test results, regardless of the age of the child.
If the man’s request to sever paternity was granted by a Washington judge then the man would no longer have to pay child support even if he had previously acknowledged being the child’s father.
Senate Bill 5997 would also establish a presumption that genetic testing is always in the best interest of the child and it would not allow a judge to deny a man’s request on the grounds that it could hurt a child.
Not Everyone Is in Agreement
The family law section of the Washington State Bar Association, and at least one Democratic state senator, allegedly oppose the bill because they fear that it could harm a child who has known a man as his or her father for a long time.
Our Seattle child support lawyers will continue to monitor this bill and watch for any changes to Washington child support laws.