Why were some of the new paternity action forms created to accept only a certified copy of the paternity affidavit from the state?  Several customers have argued that the father's name cannot be on the birth certificate unless there is a properly executed paternity affidavit, and it is less expensive to obtain the birth certificate.

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. s 666, the states are required to have expedited administrative and judicial procedures for establishing paternity and for establishing, modifying, and enforcing child support obligations. Those procedures are to include use of an acknowledgment of paternity for establishing paternity. Washington State's procedures were updated in the Laws of 2002, Ch. 302, and now appear in Chapter 26.26. RCW.

RCW 26.26.300 permits a mother and father to sign an acknowledgment of paternity with the intent to establish the man's paternity.  According to RCW 26.26.320(1) a valid acknowledgment of paternity is equivalent to an adjudication of paternity; and, according to RCW 26.26.320(2) a valid denial of paternity is the equivalent of an adjudication of nonpaternity.  It is the acknowledgment of paternity, not the birth certificate, that is equivalent to an adjudication of paternity.  All the sections upon which the new paternity actions are based refer to the acknowledgment (or denial) of paternity as the basis of the action.  It is the acknowledgment (or denial) of paternity that must be rescinded, RCW 26.26.330, .340, or that must be challenged, RCW 26.26.335, .340.

It is the signatories to the acknowledgment of paternity that can petition the court for a residential schedule, parenting plan, or child support order under RCW 26.26.375.  Whether or not there is an acknowledged father is one basis for determining which Petition for Establishment of Parentage is to be used.  (See RCW 26.26.525 - .540 )  The sections in Chapter 26.26 RCW require the acknowledgment of paternity, which is the document that satisfies federal requirements.

On the other hand, a birth certificate is used to register a birth as required by RCW 70.58.070 and to collect vital statistics. (See RCW 70.58.055,.080)

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