A father plays a crucial role in a child’s upbringing. An involved father promotes growth, strength, and stability in his son and/or daughter’s life. However, when an emotional event occurs such as a divorce, fathers are sometimes stripped of their rights. During a dissolution of marriage, it’s common for fathers to feel like they aren’t being treated fairly, especially when it comes to issues involving child visitation.
At Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson, family law attorney Shana E. Thompson and her legal team have extensive courtroom experience and know what it takes to help fathers secure the legal rights they deserve. When it comes to important issues such as child support, visitation rights, and child custody, Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson recognizes your role as a father and will work hard to protect your best interests.
Seattle Father’s Rights Attorney, Washington
If you feel that your rights as a father are being threatened or diminished, it’s important to get in contact with a skilled family law attorney in Washington that can advocate on your behalf. At Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson, divorce lawyer Shana E. Thompson has been serving the Everett, Kent, and Seattle area since the year 2000. Both she and her legal team are dedicated to protecting father’s rights and can guide you through this difficult process.
Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson serves clients in King County and Snohomish County including Everett, Edmonds, Gold Bar, Darrington, Brier, Brothell, Arlington, Monroe, Marysville, Stanwood, Sultan, Woodway, and Mill Creek. Call (206) 712-2756 to schedule your first consultation. Seattle Family law attorney Thompson and her legal team are prepared to represent you inside and outside of the courtroom.
Establishing Paternity in Washington
The process of identifying the legal father of a child is known as establishing paternity. In Washington, paternity can be established either voluntarily or with a court order.
When the parents of a child are convinced that the father is in fact the biological father of the child, paternity can be established voluntarily. Typically, the mother and father will sign a form at the birthing hospital, a birthing clinic, or at home shortly after the child is born, acknowledging who the father is. A birthing clinic assistant can help the parents complete the form and submit the paperwork to the Washington State Department of Health.
If the parents do not sign at the hospital, they may obtain the Acknowledgment of Parentage form at their local county health department or any Division of Child Support (DCS) office.
Establishing paternity through the court system may be necessary for mothers where there is no agreement about paternity.. Either parent (the birth mother or alleged father) may file a Petition for Establishment of Parentage with the court. If a petition is filed, a hearing will be scheduled to determine the child’s paternal father. A default order will be issued if the father doesn’t appear in court.
If the father appears in court and both parents agree that the father is the biological father, the judge will issue an order establishing parentage. In certain situations, the father may challenge the order and state that they’re not the father. Under these circumstances, the court will likely request them to undergo DNA testing. A DNA sample will be sent to a lab that will determine paternity. The court will then identify the individual to be the legal father if the test indicates there is less than a 1% chance of error.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity means more than just having a father’s name on the child’s birth certificate. It comes with several advantages for every member of the family. It protects father’s rights in several ways such as:
- Gaining legal rights to their child
- Establishing a bond with their child
- Participating in their child’s life
- Traveling with the child
Paternity helps mothers to:
- Share the responsibilities of parenthood
- Share the costs of raising their child
Paternity helps children to:
- Have a relationship with both parents and their extended families
- Obtain different benefits such as social security and inheritances
- Decrease the likelihood of high-risk behavior such as consuming drugs
- Gain the security of knowing their father is there for them
Father’s Rights During Divorce
Fathers have legal rights to be a part of their children’s lives in Washington. Thankfully, the State no longer gives the mother preference over the father. As the legal and competent parent of a child, fathers have the right to seek custody and visitation. The ultimate and primary concern for Washington courts is the best interests of the child.
If you feel that your rights as a father are being ignored, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable King County divorce attorney immediately. We at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson have addressed hundreds of cases where a father’s paternity has been challenged. Our lawyers know what steps to take to help you recover the ability to visit your children and remain a part of their lives.
Washington Courts: Family Law Forms – Access the official website for the Washington Courts to see a list of court forms for family law. Access forms for child support, divorce, unmarried parents, and domestic violence. You can also see a list of adoption resources.
King County: Family Law Handbook – Access the official website for King County, WA to see a PDF that discusses family law. Click the link to learn how Washington State addresses marriage, prenuptial agreements, divorces, property rights, spousal maintenance, child support, parenting plans, relocation of children, and more.
Washington Father’s Rights Lawyer | King County & Snohomish County
Historically, the rights of the father during the divorce process are often ignored or placed at a low priority. This is why it’s important to seek effective and practiced legal representation. At Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson, we believe every father should have the right to play an influential role in the development of his child. If you desire to protect your rights as a father, contact our skilled family law attorneys to see how we can help you in this situation.
Our goal is to provide fathers with the skilled legal counsel they need to receive access to their children. Call us today at (206) 712-2756 to schedule a consultation with Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson. Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson serves clients in King County and Snohomish County, WA, and surrounding cities including Kent, Medina, Milton, Newcastle, Normandy Park, Renton, Redmond, Pacific, Shoreline, Tukwila, Woodinville, SeaTac, and North Bend.