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HOW CAN PATERNITY BE ESTABLISHED IN WASHINGTON?

King residents may wish to know about the laws surrounding establishing paternity in Washington. There are a few different methods, with each one being appropriate depending on certain factors.

Under the laws of the State of Washington, there are four ways for a parent to establish paternity of their child. If the biological father marries the child's mother prior to the birth of the child, then there is a presumption of paternity. This may also apply when the couple is in a registered domestic partnership. The father may also sign an official form called a Paternity Acknowledgement which will then make him the legal father of the child. In cases where there is already a presumed father, that man will have to sign a Presumed Parent's Denial of Paternity in order for the actual father's Paternity Acknowledgement to be valid.

The last way to establish paternity is through the court system. This usually occurs when there are questions as to who the father of the child is. This process usually requires that the potential father or fathers, as well as the mother and child, submit to DNA testing in order to divulge the identity of the biological father. For those parents who apply for services through the Division of Child Support, the state will often provide a prosecutor to bring this paternity action. In these cases, there is no filing fee for bringing the paternity action, but there may be other costs in connection with the case.

Once paternity is established, a father may move forward with a parentage action in the court to gain custody or visitation rights. An attorney may be able to help a someone establish these fathers' rights by bringing the case and representing the father in court.

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