Paternity

  • An old girlfriend of mine has just told me that I am the father of her child. I don’t believe her. What should I do?
  • An old girlfriend of mine just had a baby. I think I may be the father. What should I do?
  • I just had a baby. I am unsure if the father is my ex-boyfriend or my current boyfriend. What should I do?

In each situation, paternity blood testing or genetic testing of blood, tissues, or other bodily fluids of the mother, alleged father(s) and the child should be pursued. In order to have this type of testing done, a paternity action should be filed in the superior court of the county where the child or alleged father resides or can be found. Once a paternity action has been filed and served upon all parties, a motion for paternity blood or genetic testing should be made.

How long will it take to get back the results from paternity blood or genetic testing?

Depending upon the laboratory doing the analysis, the results may be available within two or three weeks.

The test results indicate that I am the biological father. Now what happens?

The court will enter a judgment and order of the court determining the existence of the parent and child relationship between you and the child. If the judgment and order of the court is different than the child’s birth certificate, the court will order that an amended birth certificate be issued. The judgment and order will contain other provisions including, but not limited to, child support (including daycare expenses), restraining orders and residential provisions for the child.

The test results say that I am not the father. Now what happens?

The court will enter a judgment and order of the court determining the non-existence of the parent and child relationship. Essentially, your visitation rights and duties of support for the child will end.

I have a child with an ex-girlfriend. My ex-girlfriend is abusive to the child. Is there anything I can do to become the primary residential parent?

Yes. The same statutory factors that apply in establishing parenting plans for dissolution cases also apply in parentage actions. Not being married to your child’s mother is not an impediment for you to become her primary residential parent. The establishment or modification of your parenting plan would be governed by the same statutory requirements for any parenting plan.

Is there a “time limit” for establishing the paternity of a child?

No. A child, a child’s natural mother, a man alleged or alleging himself to be the father, a child’s guardian, a child’s personal representative, the state of Washington, or any interested party may bring an action at any time for the purpose of declaring the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship.

I am five months pregnant with an ex-boyfriend’s child. May I start a paternity action now?

Yes, but all proceedings may be stayed until after the birth of your child.

I just went to court on my paternity case. A guardian ad litem was appointed. What is that?

In paternity cases, the child is made a party to the action. Under the Uniform Parentage Act, when the child is a minor, a guardian ad litem (GAL) must be appointed to represent the child’s interests. A GAL is an independent professional who is charged by the court to look after the best interests of the child, and to make recommendations to the court.