In January 2015, the Northwest Justice Project published a document concerning parentage and parenting plans for both married and unmarried parents in Washington. One of the most important questions that needs to be addressed declaring whether a man is, or in some cases is not, the father of the child. (If the child was conceived with the benefit of “assistive reproduction,” such as artificial insemination, consult a Custody Lawyer Spokane WA.)
It’s Important to Establish Parentage
There are a number of important reasons for establishing parentage, including:
* Ensuring that there is a legal relationship between parent and child;
* Wanting the legal right to custody;
* Making it more difficult for the other parent to take the child and leave;
* Providing for child support and inheritance rights for the child.
Establishing oneself as the legal parent can be done with an acknowledgement of paternity or by going to court at some time after the birth. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is at the hospital after the birth. The necessary form can be signed by both parents before leaving the hospital to take the child home. Once filed with the Washington State Department of Health, this is a legal document. This document gives the child’s natural father all of the rights and responsibilities of a parent. It’s important to realize, however, that signing this form does not establish custody, child support or visitation. It’s necessary to have a Parenting Plan filed with the court.
A Parenting Plan is Essential
A Parenting Plan is necessary in custody disputes. If the parents were not married, this can be even more critical and is not a DIY project, but should be drawn up in consultation with an experienced Custody Lawyer Spokane WA. The best interests of the child are always the court’s first consideration.
When drafting the Parenting Plan, it should include information on the parenting abilities of each parent, work schedules and other pertinent data. This document will be used by the court in making their decision, so must be as clear and accurate as possible. Also, if the situation changes, it will be necessary to get approval from the court for modifications.
For assistance with parentage or custody issues, consult an experienced custody attorney at the Cooney Law Offices for a free case evaluation.