Father with child in the outdoorsA father is one of the most important figures in a child’s life. He may provide financial and emotional support, care and nurturing, and a host of other essentials necessary to the wellbeing of the child.

Of course, while the traditional family dynamic of married biological parents is still common, there exists a variety of other paternity cases and scenarios among Bellevue families in which the children still share a bond with the father.

Even if the biological parents separate, the father is still obligated to support the child. To further shed light on this issue, the following is a list of some of the more common paternity scenarios.

Both Biological Parents Are Married

In the case that the biological parents are married at the birth of the child, paternity is automatically established; in other words, the biological father is immediately declared the legal father under Washington law. In this case, the father is required to provide support for the children, and, in the event of divorce, he still carries this obligation, either through custody or through child support payments.

Parents are Together but are Not Married

For whatever reason, the biological parents of a child may choose not to get married but remain in a committed relationship. Some may enter a registered domestic partnership. In this scenario, unless another party challenges the paternity, the registered domestic partnership creates a presumption of paternity of the father. Here, the father is still obligated to provide support for the child.

Parents Had a Child But Were Never Together

In the event that a child is born out of wedlock to parents who are not in a registered domestic partnership, paternity must be established through other means. If either the mother or father wants to establish partnership, he or she must do so in one of two ways: through a Paternity Acknowledgment Form or through a court order.

The Paternity Acknowledgment Form is a legal form that must go through the following filing process.

  • Signature by the father
  • Notarized
  • Filed at the Washington State Department of Health, Center for Health Statistics

In order for this form to be valid, both parties must agree. If one party does not agree with the form, the other may petition the court to conduct a genetic test to determine the child’s biological father.

Mother Gives Birth to a Child of a Man Who is Not Her Husband

Another scenario arises when a woman gives birth to a child but her husband is not the biological father. In this case, her husband will be presumed the biological father because of the existence of the marriage.

Here, if any party wishes to establish the true biological father as the legal father of the child, he or she must complete a Paternity Acknowledgment Form or petition the court to make a ruling.

Child is Adopted

Many individuals and couples choose to adopt a child who is not biologically their own. In this situation, the father may not establish paternity until the biological parents’ rights have been terminated or relinquished. Once this occurs, the father may establish paternity through a Paternity Acknowledgment Form.

Do You Need Help Establishing Paternity? Call a Paternity Lawyer in Bellevue

Although it is necessary to provide for the child’s wellbeing, establishing the legal father of a child is not always an easy process. If you need help filling out a Paternity Acknowledgment Form in Bellevue, or have other questions about paternity in general, contact us today at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny. We are happy to answer all of your questions related to family law. You can call us at 425-460-0550 to set up a consultation with a paternity attorney in Bellevue.

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