A paternity action is commenced when the parents of a child choose to legally establish their identity as a parent. The paternity actions are also referred to as parentage actions.
There are a number of ways a father can be legally considered and later identified as a child’s parent:
By allegation (Alleged Father);
By presumption (Presumed Father); and/or
By DNA testing.
Either parent may initiate a paternity action, and on occasion the State of Washington may file a paternity action to ensure child support is being paid.
Where an Affidavit of Paternity has been signed by the father (typically at the hospital where the child was born), then the father or mother may file a Petition to Establish a Parenting Plan and Child Support. However, where there is no Affidavit of Paternity signed, the Petition to Establish Paternity must be filed. An order establishing paternity in this case is necessary to establish a parenting plan or child support.