If parents are not married, the issues of a Parenting Plan and Child Support may be decided by a parentage action. Parentage cases are governed by RCW 26.26.
The subject of parentage is far more complicated than can be addressed on this website. Suffice it to say that if you wish to contest parentage, it is common for the contesting parent to be limited to two years from the time of the birth. In some cases, however, the time limit may be as short as 60 days! If a parent is seeking to contest parentage, an experienced attorney should be obtained immediately.
A common issue is child support. Unlike a divorce case, a judgment for up to five years of back child support may be obtained against the responsible parent. If voluntary payments are made before the matter is addressed in court, the payments should be by check and should be designated for child support. Cash payments which are denied by the receiving parent may result in no credit being given.
The other common issue is visitation. Visitation can be problematic until temporary court orders are entered. This can result in the frustrating situation of the parents having to negotiate each and every visit. The solution for this problem is to file a parentage action and seek temporary visitation orders at the beginning of the case.