Our Seattle Paternity Lawyers Understand Your Stress
Paternity is an important issue in many family law cases. By legally establishing your child’s father, you determine important rights and responsibilities regarding the child’s financial, physical, and emotional well-being. While maternity is obvious, paternity is sometimes not, and the wrong assumptions may be made. As a result, it’s important to realize that you have legal rights when challenging paternity. If there are paternity issues in your case, you should discuss your options with a Seattle paternity lawyer as soon as possible.
If paternity is in dispute, the matter may need to be settled by a court. The mother or the father may file a lawsuit (sometimes referred to as a petition) seeking a court order to establish the child’s paternity. This will often involve DNA testing, but other evidence will be considered. However, whoever files the lawsuit must have a valid basis for beginning the process.
Grounds for Challenging Paternity in Washington State
Regardless of whether the mother or the father files the suit, you cannot file a lawsuit to challenge paternity merely to harass the other party. Here are some of the grounds that may qualify for challenging paternity:
- Infidelity: The male in an opposite-sex couple who was presumed to be the father may challenge paternity if he discovers that his spouse was unfaithful at the time when the child was conceived.
- Sterility: Similarly, paternity can be challenged if it is discovered that the male was sterile when the child was conceived.
- Invalid lab results: DNA testing is often used as a basis for establishing paternity. You can file a lawsuit challenging the results if you believe they were inaccurate.
In each of these cases, you will need to put on evidence supporting your position. The court will schedule a hearing, and both sides will have the opportunity to argue their case.
Timing is Important for Your Paternity Claim
The timing of the challenge could make a big difference in the outcome of your case. For example, the court may consider the child’s age or how long they have believed that the male was their father before deciding to hear the case.
It’s also important to understand that there may be a need to overcome a legal presumption of paternity. This often means that the person challenging paternity needs to prove that they are not the father, which can be challenging.
Challenging Lab Results in DNA Testing
DNA testing is often used to establish paternity when fatherhood is not clear. It can also be used to settle the dispute when one party files a lawsuit challenging the paternity of the child. While DNA testing is often very accurate, it is possible to challenge the paternity results on the following grounds:
- The results were inaccurate due to errors in conducting the test.
- The results were wrong due to mistakes in handling the samples, causing a tainted result.
- The results were tampered with or fraudulent.
Again, you will need to prove that the test results were inaccurate, which can be very difficult. An experienced Seattle paternity lawyer can help you establish your case.
Contact Seattle Divorce Services to Discuss Your Options
Paternity is an important legal issue that requires careful consideration. Before deciding how to proceed, you should speak with an experienced Seattle paternity lawyer about your case. Call us today at 206-784-3049 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys to discuss how we can help.