If you have doubts about the paternity of a child you have been told is yours, you need a paternity lawyer who will help you avoid being held responsible for a child that isn’t yours or ensure your rights and access to a child that is. In most cases, you have a right to a paternity test before you are ordered to pay child support. Divorce Lawyers for Men can help you navigate the waters of establishing or contesting paternity.
Paternity Issues Arise in Both Married and Unmarried Relationships
While we all realize an unexpected pregnancy may arise from a one-night-stand or short-term relationship; situations also arise in marriages and long-term committed relationships that create questions about the paternity of a child. Children born within a marriage are presumed to be the children of the husband unless proven otherwise.
If a man wants to challenge paternity, it is important to do so within two years of the birth. A legal determination of paternity will generally not be changed after two (2) years.
Unmarried men who believe themselves to be a father must often take affirmative action to ensure their access to and rights in raising the child. In some instances, a father may have physical custody but need to legally establish paternity in order to legally establish paternity.
Questions of paternity can be awkward and the answers can bring joy, pain, or confusion. No matter what the circumstances, Divorce Lawyers for Men attorneys have the knowledge and skills needed to get the answers you want and need and develop a solid plan for protecting your legal rights, whatever they may be.
Know Your Parental Rights as a Father
Laws governing paternity can be complex, especially as they apply to unmarried parents and same-sex couples. It is important to have an attorney knowledgeable in paternity issues to help you navigate the process.
Decisions over paternity will have significant and lasting financial repercussions for you. It is important to handle these sensitive and costly issues appropriately. You will not be allowed a “re-do” later.
You have a right to protect yourself if you are accused of fathering a child that you had no idea existed. If paternity hadn’t previously been established at the time of the baby’s birth, you have the legal right to a paternity test in Washington.
Filing for Paternity in the State of Washington
The State of Washington Division of Child Support is responsible for hearing cases of paternity. Your notice will come from this office if an ex-girlfriend or spouse is requesting a paternity test.
Generally, you and your child must have resided in Washington for a minimum of six months before the state can claim jurisdiction over your case. If parents are living in different states, jurisdiction can get tricky.
- Washington maintains jurisdiction if your child lived in the state for six months or more prior to the divorce and you, as the petitioner, continue to live in Washington.
- Washington no longer has jurisdiction if your children have lived in another state for six months or more, and any paternity case must be resolved by the court in the child’s new home state.
- Washington can accept jurisdiction, if the child has lived in multiple jurisdictions over the last six months.
- If the child’s safety is in question, the State of Washington can in that instance, issue a temporary emergency order to resolve the issue in Washington.
Paternity Lawyers You Can Trust
Divorce Lawyers for Men will fight for your right to get the answers that you need and, when appropriate, establish a fair parenting plan. Let us help you through the paternity hearing process. Give us a call to discuss your specific case.