As we discussed earlier this month, there are four major ways of establishing paternity in Washington State: presumption of paternity through marriage, presumption of paternity through domestic partnership, through a paternity acknowledgement, or through the state court system.

There are a number of reasons to establish paternity through the court system:

  • The mother or father questions the paternity of the child.
  • The mother or father is not confident about signing an official paternal acknowledgement.
  • The presumed father of the child or the mother has reason to believe there are several possible fathers.
  • The husband of the mother is not willing to sign a denial of fatherhood.
  • The mother and father of the child were not married and not part of a domestic partnership at the time of the mother’s pregnancy.

How do you establish paternity through the courts? First, go to the Washington Division of Child Support (DCS), who will then refer your case to a county prosecutor. This prosecutor, who acts solely on behalf of the child, will often serve papers to the suspected parents of the child and require genetic testing from the alleged father (or fathers) as well as from the mother and child. A man who is found to be the father of the child may be expected to pay for the court fees, including the genetic testing.

Do you need the assistance of a Seattle family lawyer – whether you are dealing with an issue of paternity or another issue related to Washington child custody and child support? Contact Molly B. Kenny today.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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