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What Happens When the Husband (Presumed Father) is Not the Child’s Father?

This blog previously discussed the uncomfortable reality for Kim Kardashian that her ex-husband will be the presumed father of her child. Kim is not the only one facing this situation, and we thought this might be a nice time to go through what can be done in Washington (a state with a marital presumption like California) when a woman’s husband is not the father of her child. As stated in the first blog article regarding the topic, there is a marital presumption in Washington that presumes a child born during a marriage, or within 300 days of its dissolution, is the husband’s child. While Kim’s sixty-two day marriage may be uncommon, this situation is more common than you might think. Sometimes couples end their marriage emotionally, socially, financially, and physically without doing so legally. The legal spouses move on and have other relationships, some of which might result in pregnancy. In this instance, the husband (even if he has not had marital relations with his wife in years) is still presumed the father of the child.

When this happens, it is often of interest to one or all of the involved parties to have the husband’s paternity disestablished, and the biological father of the child established as the legal father. To have his paternity disestablished, the presumed father may seek an order disestablishing his paternity. He can do this as part of his petition for dissolution. Another option is for the presumed father (the husband), the mother (the wife), and the biological father (wife’s new partner) to sign an acknowledgment of paternity establishing the biological father as the legal father of the child. A third option is for one of the interested parties to file a parentage action, asking the court to establish the biological father’s paternity.

There are important legal obligations that come with being a child’s presumed legal parent. If you are in a situation like the one above, it is likely in your interest to discuss your options with a family law attorney. We would be happy to discuss your case and the possible outcomes of your situation.