In the real world, not all parents are married to each other. As a father, you and the mother of your children may not live together, but you still want to see your children. As an unmarried man, you may be surprised to discover that you have a child you didn’t know about.
Parenting Doesn’t Require Marriage
The rights and responsibilities of parents start at the birth of their children, not with a marriage certificate. While unmarried parents do not file for divorce in court, issues such as child support, custody, and visitation still need to be determined, often through the filing a motion for a Parenting Plan.
More and more men are seeking visitation with, or custody of, children fathered with former girlfriends. It is no longer a one-way street of the girlfriend demanding child support. Men have parental rights that can be demanded and protected.
Equal Rights for Fathers
The mother may give birth to the child, but that does not give her greater rights than the father. There are good and fair remedies for unwed fathers in our courts. Generally, the process will start with a paternity test to scientifically establish the child’s parent.
I Didn’t Even Know I was a Father
Often men facing a paternity case had no idea they had fathered a child. They suddenly receive a notice informing them that a former girlfriend has filed a Parentage action in a Washington court, and wants child support.
Thankfully, family law in the state of Washington allows the man to mount an aggressive defense. If the mother was unmarried and no paternity affidavit at the time of the child’s birth, then genetic testing is required to determine paternity.
If you have received notice of a Parentage action either initiated by a former girlfriend or by the State of Washington Division of Child Support you should speak with a Washington family law attorney immediately to understand the process and have your legal rights and obligations explained to you. Years of child support is a huge financial burden. Men need to protect their rights, and have support set for a proper amount.
Divorce Lawyers For Men™ attorneys help men to establish or disavow parentage of a child and fight for fair treatment of all fathers and their children. Speak with one of our lawyers today at (360) 866-7393.
“I never knew I had a daughter until I received a notice in the mail. Thanks to Divorce Lawyers For Men I now get to spend time with my daughter every week and watch her grow up.” – Victor K