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What makes a Washington acknowledgement of paternity valid?

While the father of a child born to married parents is presumed to be the husband, this presumption doesn't exist if the child is born to unmarried parents. In order to establish who the legal father of a child born to unmarried parents is, paternity must be established. One way for parents to do this is through an acknowledgment of paternity.

In order for an acknowledgement of paternity to be successfully executed and legally binding, certain elements must be met. First of all, it must be in a record. In addition, both the child's mother and the man alleging to be the child's father must sign the acknowledgement of paternity under penalty of perjury. Also, the acknowledgement of paternity must state that the child does not have a presumed father, or if the child has a presumed father whose full name is included in the document, and that there is no other man who is acknowledged or adjudicated to be the child's father.

If the man seeking paternity has undergone a genetic test, this must be included in the paternity acknowledgment. Moreover, if there is a genetic test, the acknowledgment of the man's claim that he is the child's father must be consistent with such tests. Finally, an acknowledgement of paternity must state that the child's mother and the man claiming to be the child's father understand that an acknowledgment of paternity is legally binding, just as it would be if it was a judicial adjudication of paternity.

There are also circumstances under which an acknowledgment of paternity will be void. One is if it states that there is a presumed father, unless the presumed father has signed a denial of paternity, and this document is filed with the Washington registrar of vital statistics. Another is if it states that the child has another acknowledged or adjudicated father. Finally, an acknowledgment of paternity will be void if it falsely denies that the child has another adjudicated, acknowledged or presumed father.

Establishing paternity is important for several reasons. First of all, once paternity is established, child support can be sought if necessary. In addition, once paternity is established, the child's father can begin the process of seeking child custody or visitation rights.

An acknowledgement of paternity is just one way to establish paternity. Those who want to know more about establishing paternity in Washington can seek legal help.

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