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How do I establish paternity?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2022 | Child Custody

If you’ve recently become a father, you may be wondering how to establish paternity. Paternity is the legal recognition of a child’s father, and it’s essential for many reasons.

By establishing paternity, you’ll be able to ensure that your child has access to important benefits like health insurance and inheritance rights. You’ll also gain the ability to make decisions about your child’s upbringing and medical care.

The process of establishing paternity

To establish paternity for a child born in the state of Washington, parents must complete the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. This document must be signed, witnessed and notarized before being sent to the state’s Department of Health. It states the father’s legal recognition of the child as his own. Through filing this voluntary acknowledgment, Washington State attempts to ensure that children have access to essential benefits such as health insurance, social security, veterans’ benefits, inheritance rights and more from their biological parents.

The voluntary acknowledgment establishes paternity rights and grants an enforceable duty of financial support between father and son or daughter. But if either party changes their mind after signing the form, they have 60 days to rescind their acknowledgment – allowing enough time in case some issues or misunderstandings need clarification. After the 60-day period has passed, paternity is considered to be legally established.

If you are the father of a child and wish to have certain rights, such as custody or visitation, then you must legally establish paternity. Although it can be complicated, having a legal advocate can help ensure the process goes smoothly. They can also provide guidance on what to expect and answer any questions you may have.