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Home » Bellevue Paternity Lawyer
Becoming a father is a joyous occasion for many men in Bellevue, Washington. When a man is denied his legal rights as a father, it can be devastating.
Establishing paternity rights can be a complicated legal process.
If you are faced with paternity issues, you need an experienced Bellevue paternity lawyer to fight for your rights as a father.
Our legal team at the Twyford Law Office are highly skilled, seasoned family lawyers.
Julie A. Twyford, our managing partner, has been practicing law for more than 45 years. When you need trusted legal advice, you can count on the attorneys at the Twyford Law Office to protect you.
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A paternity case decides whether you have legal rights as a father. Having an experienced Bellevue paternity attorney on your side when navigating paternity issues is essential. We understand what is at stake at Twyford Law Office and are committed to providing you with the legal representation you need to succeed.
Our Bellevue paternity lawyers provide personalized legal advice based on your unique circumstances.
We have experience in paternity cases involving genetic testing, adoption proceedings, visitation, child support, custody, etc. Regarding paternity issues, our legal team has the resources, skills, and expertise to handle the most complex cases.
When you hire our top-rated Bellevue family law attorneys, you can trust we will handle all aspects of your paternity case, including:
When you choose Twyford Law Office, you’ll receive personal attention directly from a paternity lawyer. Our Bellevue paternity lawyers have years of experience handling family court matters. Experience counts when you are fighting for your rights as a father.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced paternity lawyer in Bellevue, WA.
Paternity refers to legally recognizing a man as a child’s biological father. Without legal recognition, a man has no rights or responsibilities as the child’s father.
Children and fathers benefit from establishing paternity in a number of ways including, but not limited to:
Establishing paternity is the first step in ensuring you can build a parent-child relationship with your son or daughter. Numerous studies have shown that children benefit from close relationships with both parents. A father who actively participates in their child’s life can help improve their emotional health and overall well-being.
Under Washington child support laws, both parents are legally obligated to support their children financially. This obligation does not cease if the parents divorce or are never married. In order for a court to order child support, paternity must be established.
However, child support is not the only reason to establish paternity. Other financial benefits include the child’s right to inheritance, Social Security benefits, insurance coverage, and disability benefits. A child is not legally entitled to these benefits unless a man is legally recognized as the child’s father.
Paternity establishes the identity of a child and the father. It allows the child to know they are part of a family. The courts recognize a man as the biological father, which means other institutions must acknowledge the man as the child’s biological father.
A man has no right to visit their child if they are not recognized as the child’s legal parent. Therefore, paternity is the first step in obtaining visitation and/or custody rights.
Paternity allows the child access to the father’s medical history, which can provide essential health information about genetic traits and diseases. A father has a right to access the child’s medical records and make decisions regarding the child’s health care.
Legal fathers also have the right to be informed about proceedings involving their children. Proceedings include adoptions, juvenile court proceedings, custody hearings, and criminal proceedings. A father also has the right to access school and religious records and participate in making decisions for the child regarding these matters.
Paternity can be established in several ways in Washington. The avenues you can take to legally recognize a man as the biological father of a child include:
Under the Washington Uniform Parentage Act, there is a presumption that the man in a marriage or domestic partnership is the biological father of a child born during the marriage or domestic partnership. The presumption also applies to a child born within 300 days after the domestic partnership or marriage is terminated.
However, this is a rebuttable presumption. The mother, father, or a third party can challenge the presumption. If so, the court may order a paternity test to determine whether a man is the child’s biological father.
Both parents can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) form to establish a child’s parents. The form can only be used if both parties agree and no other person claims to be the parent of the child.
Most hospitals provide the form to parents after the birth of a child for the parents to affirm their biological connection to the child. However, the form may be obtained from the Washington Department of Health.
An AOP must be used if any of the following apply:
Both parents must sign an AOP before a witness or notary public. The form is filed with the Department of Health with the applicable filing fee.
If the birth mother or the alleged father contests paternity, either parent can file a petition with the court to initiate legal proceedings to establish paternity. After a party files a petition to establish paternity, the court issues a summons to notify all interested parties of the court action. This includes the mother, alleged father, legal guardians, and custodians of the child.
Generally, the court orders genetic testing when there is a dispute regarding the identity of a child’s biological father. The court orders the alleged father and child to provide a DNA sample for testing. Sometimes, the judge may order the mother to also provide a DNA sample.
A lab tests the samples to determine the biological relationship between a man and a child. If the DNA testing proves the man is the biological father of the child, the court issues an order formally recognizing him as the legal father. The order gives the father the rights and responsibilities of a legal parent.
Establishing paternity may be the first step in a child custody battle. The mother or father may petition the court for sole custody of the child. If so, the court must decide custody and visitation as it would in all other child custody cases.
Judges decide child custody cases based on the best interest of the child. They consider the evidence presented by the parties and various factors to determine a child’s best interest. An experienced Bellevue child custody lawyer can help a father fight for custody and visitation after establishing paternity.
In addition to custody, the father may also need to fight for a fair child support arrangement. Washington uses standard child support schedules to determine the child support obligations for each parent. However, other factors could impact the amount a father pays or receives in child support. Working with an experienced Bellevue child support lawyer can help ensure you do not pay more than your fair share for child support.
Our attorneys at the Twyford Law Office are fierce advocates of father’s rights in Bellevue, WA. We diligently pursue all legal avenues to protect your parental rights and your child’s best interests. Call today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Bellevue paternity attorneys.