Family Law: Paternity in Washington

When a child’s parents’ are not married, an action to establish paternity can be initiated by a Court proceeding under the Uniform Parentage Act. An action to establish parentage may be initiated by the State of Washington, through the prosecuting attorney, or by a private party. The Court will also make residential and financial support arrangements for the children in the same manner as in a dissolution.

If you have been served with a Petition to Establish Paternity, your written response is generally due within 20 days. Paternity may be disproved by DNA testing or the probability of paternity may be established by DNA tests. If paternity is an issue, both parties may agree to submit to the DNA tests. If the parties cannot agree to a DNA test, a Court order may be obtained to force the other party to submit to the test. DNA tests cannot absolutely prove paternity but they can provide for the probability and they can eliminate candidates.

If a current Paternity Affidavit is filed, it can have the same effect as a court order establishing paternity after 60 days. In that case, an action can be filed just to establish a Parenting Plan and/or child support.

Talk to an experienced family law attorney about your parentage issue.