If an unmarried couple has a child together, and visitation or child support becomes an issue, a paternity action may be necessary. Paternity is the basis of legal fatherhood in Washington. Without paternity, a man will have no parental rights or responsibilities for a child. Whether you are seeking to establish or contest paternity, the skilled Clark County paternity lawyers at Cohen Family Law, LLC can assist you. We offer free consultations; call (360) 953-5000 or contact us online today.
Why Choose Our Paternity Lawyers for Your Case?
We have successfully handled hundreds of family law cases in Clark County over the past 15 years.
We will help you understand every aspect of your paternity case and the legal options available to help you reach your goals.
From the start and until your case is resolved, we will dedicate ourselves to keeping you informed and providing the personal attention you deserve.
Why You Need a Paternity Lawyer
Washington law does not require you to hire an attorney when filing a petition to determine paternity. However, having experienced legal representation may be in your best interests if:
The child’s mother disagrees that you are the biological father;
You do not believe you are the biological or legal father of the child, but the mother does;
Another man is claiming to be the child’s father; or,
You think you might be the child’s father and want to have a definitive ruling on the matter.
The outcome of a paternity case can permanently impact your legal rights and responsibilities. A dedicated Washington paternity lawyer can analyze your situation, help you understand the potential legal ramifications of a paternity determination, and guide you every step of the way.
How to Establish Paternity in Washington
If a mother and father are both sure that the father is the child’s biological parent, paternity can be established voluntarily. The parents can sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity,” which is often done at the hospital when the child is born. However, it can also be completed at a later time by obtaining the form from a local county health department or any Division of Child Support Office.
When paternity cannot be voluntarily established, legal action can be taken by filing a “Petition to Establish Parentage.” After the appropriate party is notified, a hearing will be scheduled for the mother and potential father to appear in court and either agree that the father is the biological father or deny it. If they agree, the judge can issue an order establishing parentage, which shows the father as the legal father, and his name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. If the mother or father denies paternity, the court will likely order a DNA test. If the test confirms that the father is the biological father, the court will issue an order establishing parentage. When appropriate, the judge can also enter orders regarding visitation, custody, and child support.
We Can Help
If you are in need of legal assistance for a paternity case, contact Cohen Family Law, LLC. Our skilled and trusted paternity attorneys can discuss your legal options in a free consultation; call (360) 953-5000 today.