When parents are unmarried at the time a child is born (or within 300 days of a dissolution), the marital presumption does not apply. In this circumstance, more has to be done to establish the child’s paternity. It is necessary to establish the child’s paternity for purposes of entering an order of child support and/or a parenting plan or residential schedule for the child.
In Washington, there are two separate ways for unmarried, non-adoptive parents to establish paternity. One option is court action, and the other is the filing of a paternity acknowledgement with the Department of Health.
If there is not agreement as to the paternity of the child, or if the other parent does not want paternity established, it will probably be necessary to file a court action. To start a court action, either parent may petition the court with a parentage action.