Everett Paternity Attorney Helps Prove Father-Child Relationships
Snohomish County family lawyer handles disputed parentage cases in Washington State
Fathers play an important role in the lives of children, providing both financial and moral support. Establishing a strong bond with a son or daughter benefits the father as well. However, for a child born to unmarried parents, legal paternity will usually need to be established first. If paternity is at issue in Snohomish or Skagit County, Washington, the Law Office of Robert N. Getz, P.S. in Everett can help, whether you seek to prove or disprove paternity, or if you’re looking to gain legal recognition when both parties agree on a child’s parentage.
What are the benefits of paternity?
Establishing paternity offers potential benefits to each parent as well as the child. Legal paternity confers parental rights on a man, which could include the following:
- To seek custody of the child
- To have visitation rights if the mother retains residential custody
- To visit the child who is in the hospital
- To share in decisions about the child’s welfare
- To bond with, and be part of, the child’s life
Establishing paternity allows mothers to seek legal orders requiring fathers to share the cost and responsibilities of raising the child. Even a father who no longer has a relationship with the mother of his child nevertheless has a duty to provide child support, which is why establishing paternity is crucial. Finally, establishing paternity allows the child to:
- Benefit from financial support provided by their father
- Have a relationship with both parents
- Inherit from the father
- Understand the medical history of their father and father’s family
I can not only help establish paternity, but help you and your child obtain these benefits.
How do you establish paternity?
In Washington State, paternity is automatically assumed if the alleged father is married or in a domestic partnership with the mother. Otherwise, the easiest way to establish paternity is by having the alleged father and mother sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” document in front of a notary. This is filed with the State Department of Health. Another way to pursue a legal paternity declaration is to petition the court, which can be done by either:
- The alleged father
- The mother
- The child
- The state, if the child is on public assistance or if the Division of Child Support agrees to take the case
The court can find in favor of paternity if:
- The alleged father fails to respond to the petition
- The mother and alleged father agree that the latter is the father
- A DNA test taken by the mother, alleged father and child proves paternity
There are three types of DNA paternity tests:
- Legally admissible — This is one that the court will find acceptable for proving paternity.
- Prenatal — This is a test conducted before the baby is born, and involves drawing a fetal DNA sample.
- Information only — This test is not admissible in court, but may be used to determine whether the alleged father should voluntarily accept paternity.
I can advise you on your options and help you to establish or rebut paternity through the most appropriate method.
Contact an accomplished Washington paternity lawyer for a consultation
If you need legal assistance to establish, determine or dispute the paternity of a child, you can trust the Law Office of Robert N. Getz, P.S. in Everett, Washington to help you. To schedule a free 10-minute phone consultation, please call at 866-360-8050 or contact me online.