Parentage FAQ

What is the typical turnaround time for processing requests?

The typical turnaround time for processing an Acknowledgment of Parentage form (DOH 422-159)(PDF) or court order is three to four weeks.

Can I change the name of my child at the same time I add another parent to the birth record?

You need a separate form called the Affidavit for Correction (DOH 422-034)(PDF). There are a few restrictions:

  1. The parents have one year from the date DOH filed the Acknowledgment of Parentage form (DOH 422-159)(PDF) to change the child's last name.
  2. The child's new last name can be changed to either parents' names on the AOP (any combination of either parents' first, middle, or last names).
  3. The name cannot be changed by the Affidavit for Correction if there has already been any kind of legal name change done in court. This would require another court order.
Can I file an Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP) form if my child is over 18 years old?

Yes. Both parents can sign the Acknowledgment of Parentage form (DOH 422-159)(PDF) regardless of the age of the child.

Can a parent who is under the age of 18 sign an AOP form?

Yes. An AOP form signed by a minor is legal.

If I have a prior parentage form that was signed a long time ago, can I still send it in?

Yes. The Department of Health will accept the prior version of the form, which is called the Paternity Acknowledgment, if it was signed before January 1, 2019. The Paternity Acknowledgment form must be submitted with the new non-refundable filing fee of $18. Incomplete forms and incorrect payments will not be processed and will be sent back.

Why did the fee change?

During the rule making process, we conducted a study to determine the cost to process assertions, acknowledgments, denials, and rescissions of parentage forms. The new filing fee reflects the cost for us to process each request.

Do I have to turn in the Denial of Parentage (DOP) form and the AOP form at the same time?

No. If a DOP is needed, the AOP and DOP forms can be filed separately or at the same time, but neither is valid unless both forms are filed with us. If forms are sent in separately, each form must be submitted with a non-refundable $18 filing fee. If you choose to send the forms together, only one non-refundable filing fee of $18 is required. The parentage filed date is when both forms are received and filed by the Department of Health.

If I am getting a court order to add another parent to my child's birth record, can I use the same court order to legally change my child's name?

You are allowed to ask the court for a name change for your child at the same time. The court order must very specifically list the full (first, middle, and last) previous name of the child and then the new name under the order section. Submit the Court Order Parentage Supplemental Information form ((422-164)PDF) with the court order. Spanish: Formulario para Información Suplementaria de una Orden Judicial de Paternidad (422-164)(PDF). For information go to the Court Order page.

Why would parents already listed on a birth certificate through marriage or a registered domestic partnership file an AOP?

In some states, being listed as a parent on the birth certificate may not provide sufficient proof of parentage. Under federal law the Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP) is required to be given full faith and credit to prove parentage. By filing an AOP, parents can order a copy of the AOP for use outside Washington to prove parentage.

If I am not listed as a parent on the record can I still order a parentage verification letter?

No. Only the person who signed an AOP form may request a parentage verification letter, also known as a CBRI letter.

How do I order a parentage verification letter?

If you are one of the parents who signed an AOP form, you can order a parentage verification letter (or a CBRI letter) by mailing in the Parentage Verification Order form (DOH 422-163)(PDF). Spanish Form: Formulario Para Ordenar la Verificación de Paternidad (DOH 422-163)(PDF). For use outside the State of Washington, you may need to request a copy of the AOP.

If I signed a DOP or ROP form, can I request a copy of the form I signed?

Yes. You can request a copy of the form you signed by mailing in the Parentage Verification Order form (DOH 422-163)(PDF) with a non-refundable fee of $15. Spanish Form: Formulario Para Ordenar la Verificación de Paternidad (DOH 422-163)(PDF).

If I want parent labels to stay as Mother/Father on the birth certificate, what do I choose on the AOP form?

You would mark "No" to the parent label question (#8).

Can the witness be anyone?

A person signing the witnessed statement must be at least 18 years of age and not related by blood or marriage to the individuals who sign an assertion, acknowledgment of parentage, denial of parentage, or rescission of parentage form. The local child support offices will serve as witnesses. Center for Health Statistics staff will not serve as witnesses.

Can someone other than the parents sign the forms on their behalf? For example a power of attorney or a guardian ad litem?

A Power of Attorney or a guardian ad litem's scope of authority can vary. Typically, the authority is restrictive and is set for a specific short term duration. If there is a court order that expands the scope of authority, we will need to review the court order.

Why is there no question on the AOP form asking about the birth parent being legally married to someone else?

The new Uniform Parentage Act, chapter 26.26A RCW, recognizes the diversity of families and non-biological parent-child relationships in Washington State. The AOP form reflects the changes to the law and allows individuals regardless of marital status, to become a parent.

Why is the AOP form not asking for social security numbers?

The AOP form asks for the social security number of the parent being added to the child's birth record. The social security number for the mother/birth parent was collected at time of birth registration.

When is an Assertion form needed?

An Assertion form only applies in situations when a person and the mother/birth parent of the child were married or became state domestic partners after the birth of a child. The spouse can file an Assertion form with the Department of Health. Visit the Assertion page for more information.

If the forms can be witnessed, why put the option for a notary?

The new Uniform Parentage Act, chapter 26.26A RCW, requires forms to be notarized or witnessed. The individuals signing the forms choose which option they prefer.

How do I know if I need to use a witness or a notary?

The individual signing the form choose which option they prefer. That means for the AOP form, one parent can choose a notary and the other parent can choose a witness.