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WashingtonLawHelp.orgWashington LawHelp

How Do I Request a Copy of my Washington State Acknowledgment of Parentage?

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded

How to get a copy of a Paternity Affidavit, Paternity Acknowledgment, or Acknowledgment of Paternity (all the same thing). #3612EN


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Should I read this?

Yes, if your child was born in Washington State to unmarried parents.

Who should not read this? 

Do not use this if:

  • Your child was born in another state.

  • You were married to the other parent at the time the child was born.

What is an Acknowledgment of Parentage?    

The Acknowledgment of Parentage is a special form for a woman who gave birth to a child and another person seeking to establish a parent-child relationship. In Washington, they often give the mother this form in the hospital right after a child’s birth. 

If filed with the Washington State Department of Health, the Acknowledgment can have the same legal effect as a court order making the person the legal parent.

Is an Acknowledgment of Parentage the same thing as a Paternity Affidavit?

Yes. It has been known as a Paternity Affidavit, Paternity Acknowledgment, or Acknowledgment of Paternity.  

How does an Acknowledgment of Parentage work?

The woman who gave birth to the child and the person seeking to establish a parent-child relationship must sign it. Then someone must file it with the Department of Health.  If no one rescinds it (takes back their signature) within sixty days after its filing, it is a final legal determination of parentage. 

What rights do I get from signing and filing the Acknowledgment?

You get all a parent’s legal rights and responsibilities, including

  • The right to ask for custody or visitation

  • The responsibility to provide financial support for the child 

I signed and filed an Acknowledgment of Parentage.  Do I get custody of the child now?

No. An Acknowledgment of Parentage by itself does not establish custody, visitation, or child support. After you file it, either parent (or, if the child gets public assistance, the State) can ask for a child support order through the Division of Child Support (DCS) or in court. You can also file a court action asking for a custody or child support order.

Do I need to keep a copy of my Acknowledgment of Parentage?

Probably. It is official proof of your child’s parentage. You usually should keep a copy of it in a safe place.

*If you are filing a Petition for Parenting Plan/Residential Schedule or Child Support, you must attach a certified (official) copy of the Acknowledgment of Parentage.   

I signed an Acknowledgment of Parentage stating I am not a child’s parent. Should I keep a copy for myself?

Yes.  You might need it if there is a future question about the child’s parentage.

I do not remember the date we filed the Acknowledgment of Parentage. How can I find out?   

You can get a certified copy from the Department of Health.  It shows the date of filing. Use the Parentage Verification Order Form.

What if I just want to know if an Acknowledgment of Parentage ever got filed?

If you signed it, contact the Department of Health at (360) 236-4300.  They may be able to tell you if an Acknowledgment is on file there.

Due to confidentiality concerns, they cannot give you other info, such as the date it was filed.  To get that more info, you must write the Department of Health for a certified copy.

*If you are not one of the people who signed the Acknowledgment, the Department of Health will not send you a copy.  If you need a copy of an Acknowledgment that you did not sign, talk to a lawyer, or file a motion with the court for a court order releasing the Acknowledgment to you.

How do I ask for a copy of my Acknowledgment of Parentage?

Fill out and mail the Parentage Verification Order Form.  Attach a check or money order for $15 for each copy you want.  Make it payable to the Department of Health.

It may take up to four weeks to arrive. 

Where can I get more info?


This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities.  It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice. 
This information is current as of May 2019.

© 2019 Northwest Justice Project — 1-888-201-1014
(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and to individuals for non-commercial purposes only.)

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Last Review and Update: May 15, 2019