This June we are talking about how you can establish paternity in Washington State – often an important step toward getting child custody, getting visitation rights, or getting child support. One of the most common ways of establishing paternity is through signing a paternity acknowledgement.

Why does a paternity acknowledgement need to be signed?

If there is no presumption of paternity due to marriage or domestic partnership, if the person married to the mother is not believed to be the father, or if someone challenges the paternity, a paternity acknowledgement needs to be signed. This legal form is signed to secure your rights in regards to your child and your child’s rights in regards to its parents.

Should you sign a paternity acknowledgement?

This paperwork is often signed at the hospital or place of birth shortly after the child is born. You should never, ever sign a paternity acknowledgement if you are unsure you are the parent. You can take back your signature within 60 days of signing it. If you are unsure of the child’s parent, consider genetic testing or establishing paternity through the local court system.

Understand your rights and responsibilities.

Under the law, you are required to both read and hear about the consequences of signing a paternity acknowledgement. Read and listen carefully so that you understand both what is required of you as a father and what rights you have as a father. This legal form can affect the access you have to your child, whether or not you are required to pay child support, and whether or not you can gain legal custody of the child. More importantly establishing paternity accurately ensures that father, mother, and baby have a clear and complete knowledge of their genetic relationship. 

Washington child custody attorney

Is paternity a major issue in your Washington child custody case or child support case? If so, you may require a Seattle paternity lawyer who understands the importance of establishing paternity for both the parents and the child. To schedule a private consultation with such an attorney today, call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny at (425) 460-0550.

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