Washington State law requires that all parents be financially responsible for their children. Many think of child support an issue to address during divorce, it is also relevant if the child’s parents are unmarried. One parent must pay the other child support to help address the child’s needs. Read on to learn more about child support for unmarried parents.

How Can I Collect Child Support if the Other Parent and I Were Never Married?

Married couples who are getting divorced will deal with creating a parenting plan and acquiring a child support order during a divorce. But regardless of your marital status, you can file a petition for a parenting plan and child support at any point. You should file your petition in the county in which your child lives. You can access the petition online at courts.wa.gov. Or you can work with an attorney who can assist you with child support matters.

One issue that may be unique to unmarried parents is that of paternity. Maternity is established at birth, but if the mother is not married, then the parents must establish paternity in some way. There are four general ways to establish paternity in Washington: acknowledgement, presumption, genetic testing, and court order. Establishing paternity can be important if a mother wishes to acquire a court order for child support or if a father wishes to exercise parental rights.

If you file a petition for a parenting plan and child support and a judge issues a court order, the parent must adhere to the court order. If the parent obligated to pay child support doesn’t make the payments, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services may take legal actions to collect payments.

Washington determines child support payments the same way for divorced and unmarried parents. Either parent may request a modification, though should not stop payments until acquiring a court order.

Who Can Help Me File a Petition for Child Support?

Filing a petition for a parenting plan and child support requires filling out forms that are detailed and time-consuming. To assist you in filling out your forms accurately and in full, and presenting your case before a judge if necessary, call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny. We know how important child support is and can help you acquire a court order regardless of your marital or past marital status. Call us today to learn more at 425-460-0550.

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