The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Washington

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Definitions

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.26A.010; 26.26A.115

'Acknowledged parent' means a person who has established a parent-child relationship. An 'adjudicated parent' means a person who has been adjudicated by a court to be the parent of a child. An 'alleged genetic parent' means a person who is alleged to be the genetic parent but whose parentage has not been adjudicated.

'Presumed parent' means a person who is recognized as the parent of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial proceeding. A person is presumed to be the parent of a child if any of the following apply:

  • The person and the child's birth parent are married or in a domestic partnership and the child is born during the marriage or partnership.
  • The person and the child's birth parent were married or in a domestic partnership and the child is born within 300 days after the marriage or partnership is terminated.
  • The person and the child's birth parent married or entered into a domestic partnership after the birth of the child in apparent compliance with law, whether or not the marriage or partnership is, or could be, declared invalid, and the person voluntarily asserted parentage of the child, and any of the following apply:
    • The assertion is in a record filed with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
    • The person agreed to be named as the child's parent on the child's birth certificate.
    • The person resided in the same household with the child for the first 4 years of the life of the child, including any period of temporary absence, and openly held out the child as their child.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.26A.200; 26.26A.205; 26.26A.230

The person who gave birth to a child and the alleged genetic other parent of the child or a presumed parent may sign an acknowledgment of parentage with intent to establish the parentage of a child.

An acknowledgment of parentage must meet the following requirements:

  • Be in a record signed by the birth parent and by the person seeking to establish a parent-child relationship, and the signatures must be witnessed attested by a notary
  • State that either of the following applies to the child whose parentage is being acknowledged:
    • Does not have a presumed parent other than the individual seeking to establish the parent-child relationship or has a presumed parent whose full name is stated
    • Does not have another acknowledged parent or adjudicated parent other than the person who gave birth to the child
  • State that the signatories understand that the acknowledgment is the equivalent of an adjudication of parentage of the child and that a challenge to the acknowledgment is permitted only under limited circumstances and is barred 4 years after the effective date of the acknowledgment

A court conducting a judicial proceeding or an administrative agency conducting an administrative proceeding is not required or permitted to ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of parentage.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.26A.100; 26.26A.310; 26.26A.325; 26.26A.440

A parent-child relationship is established between a person and a child if any of the following apply:

  • The person gives birth to the child.
  • There is a presumption of the person€™s parentage of the child, unless the presumption is overcome in a court proceeding or a valid denial of parentage is made.
  • The person is adjudicated a parent of the child.
  • The person acknowledges parentage of the child unless the acknowledgment is rescinded or successfully challenged.

In a proceeding to determine parentage, the court shall order the child and any other person to submit to genetic testing if a request for testing is supported by the sworn statement of a party that states either of the following:

  • Alleges a reasonable possibility that the person is the child's genetic parent
  • Denies genetic parentage of the child, stating facts establishing a reasonable possibility that the person is not a genetic parent

A person is identified as a genetic parent of a child if the results of genetic testing disclose that the person has at least a 99-percent probability of parentage.

In a proceeding to adjudicate parentage of a person who claims to be a de facto parent of the child, the court shall adjudicate the person to be a parent of the child if the person demonstrates by evidence of the following:

  • The person resided with the child as a regular member of the child's household for a significant time.
  • The person engaged in consistent caregiving of the child.
  • The person undertook full and permanent responsibilities of a parent of the child without expectation of financial compensation.
  • The person held out the child as their child.
  • The person established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child that is parental in nature.
  • Another parent of the child supported the relationship with the child.
  • Continuing the relationship between the person and the child is in the child's best interests.

Required Information

Citation: Admin. Code §§ 246-490-300; 246-490-305; 246-490-310

When the person who gave birth and the person seeking to establish parentage were married after the birth of the child, the person seeking to establish parentage shall file an assertion with the Department of Health to establish a presumption of parentage. The assertion may only be filed with the department on the forms provided by the department. The form must be completed and sent to the department along with the applicable fees.

The person who gave birth and an alleged genetic parent or a presumed parent may use an acknowledgment of parentage to establish parentage. When the completed acknowledgment of parentage form is filed with the department and a denial of parentage is not required, the parent's name will be added to the child's birth record.

If parentage is established by court order, the court or parents of the child must submit a certified copy of the court order to the department. The department may require supplemental information to locate and change the child's birth record to comply with a court order that establishes parentage. The parents listed in the court order must provide the supplemental information. The department may request the following information to comply with the court order:

  • The full name of the child, as listed on the child's birth record
  • The child's date of birth
  • The full name of the person who gave birth, as listed on the child's birth record
  • The full legal name, date of birth, and place of birth for the person being added as a parent
  • Any additional information needed to locate the birth record

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 26.26A.235; 26.26A.240

A signatory may rescind an acknowledgment of parentage by filing with the State registrar a rescission in a signed record that is witnessed or by a notary before the earlier of either of the following:

  • Sixty days after the effective date of the acknowledgment
  • The date of the first hearing in a proceeding to which the signatory is a party before a court to adjudicate an issue relating to the child, including a proceeding that establishes support

If an acknowledgment of parentage is rescinded, an associated denial of parentage is invalid, and the State registrar shall notify the birth parent and the person who signed a denial of parentage of the child that the acknowledgment has been rescinded.

After the period for rescission expires, but no later than 4 years after the effective date of an acknowledgment of parentage, a signatory of the acknowledgment may commence a proceeding to challenge the acknowledgment based only on fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact.

Access to Information

Citation: Rev. Code § 26.26A.260

The State registrar may release information relating to an acknowledgment of parentage to a signatory of the acknowledgment, a court, a Federal agency, an agency operating a child welfare program under title IV-E of the Social Security Act, and a child support agency of this or another State.