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LEARN MORE ABOUT UNMARRIED COUPLES PARENTING RIGHTS IN WASHINGTON
Parents of the child, who for some reason, did not engage in marriage, still have rights and responsibilities to their child. But when the two of them are not married at the time of a child’s birth, only the mother is legally recognized. Fathers do not have rights to ask for court-ordered custody or child support, or even parenting time. This is until paternity with the child according to the laws of Washington state has been established.
Here are common questions about the rights of unmarried parents in the State.
CAN THE UNMARRIED PARENTS JUST SIGN AN ‘ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF PATERNITY’?
Yes. Unmarried parents can agree to identify a man as their child’s acknowledged father, according to the laws of Washington State. The Revised Code of Washington allows parents to sign an “acknowledgment of paternity” for the establishment of a child’s paternity. Both of the parties must sign it with the intention of giving legal rights to the man as the child’s parent. One other way of gaining parental rights for unmarried fathers is through court adjudication. That is if the mother will not agree to identify a man as the acknowledged father. A Petition to Establish Parentage can be filed in the state court in his local Washington county.
Exception: Mother is married to another man at time of child’s birth or if mother has already acknowledged another man as father. The man may be able to file a parentage lawsuit in the court to address this situation.
CAN A DNA TESTING BE DONE?
Still the quickest and most accurate way to establish paternity is through genetic testing. This will also clarify if the father is unsure it is really his child. It will be great if the mother is willing to let the child submit for the said testing, otherwise it will be a headache. The good news is that the courts can compel such testing.
Note: Important to know if a man who married the child’s mother before the child’s birth, or a divorced or separated man who was married to the child’s mother within 300 days of the child’s birth. Because this fall under the presumption in Washington law that identifies him to be the child’s legal father.
AGREEING ON PARENTING PLAN FOR UNMARRIED PARENTS
After establishing the father, will the mother of the child be amenable to all planned undertakings for the child? Furthermore, will she work with him and okay to do this? It is important to secure a good relationship with the mother of the child in doing this. If unmarried and separated, both have a right to determine a schedule that works for both of them. If the father and the child’s mother can come to an agreeable arrangement, that can convince the court to make it legally binding. If for any reason both can’t reach an agreement, the father can take the case to court. A family judge will listen to both sides and can determine the child custody or visitation rights from there.
If the mother has listed the father in the birth certificate, then that’s all he would need to assert his parentage. In this case, he is the presumed father. However, if she didn’t and isn’t willing to fill out a voluntary form acknowledging him as the father, the father will need to take more legal action.
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FILING FOR PARENTING PLAN IN WASHINGTON STATE
If the man is the child’s acknowledged father, adjudicated father or presumed father, he may go ahead and file an action in the Washington courts for a parenting plan or residential schedule. It also distinguishes each parent’s custodial rights and visitation with the child. Filing of a motion for a Parenting Plan and its subsequent documents will be the best to do. It will definitely help determine child support, child custody and child visitation. The request for the court order can also be according to their preferences for the parenting time and the court will consider the request according to the laws of Washington state.
For situations when the mother files for her own petition, the father can disagree with her and continue on with his preferences for custody. The court may determine rights if the parent has done a history of neglect or abandonment of the child. This also includes history of abuse of violent crime to justify the decision.
UNMARRIED PARENTS RIGHTS IN WASHINGTON
The responsibility of the child is by both parents. In addition to shared custody, either parent will also likely to have some legal requirement for the support of the children. The child support is part of that responsibility. It lets either of them take an active role in pursuing more meaningful relationship with the children. Unmarried Parents, in summary, are both responsible for the children and have equal rights in the State of Washington.
PARENTING PLAN LAWYER IN WASHINGTON
One can always seek an attorney’s help in worst situations. Being educated better on his or her rights is great. Call Soriano Law LLC now at (360) 249-6174. We are in Montesano (Grays Harbor County), but we also serve clients in Thurston County, Pacific County, Lewis County, Mason County, and Pierce County.