Washington State Paternity Fraud Bill
February 21, 2015
A paternity fraud bill before the Washington legislature, SB 5006 and its companion HB 1524, that would allow wrongly named men to disestablish paternity has been moving this year but its not too late to have your voice heard.
Senate Bill 5006 was delayed earlier this month while an amendment to address the concerns of Washington State DHSH was hammered out. The amended bill has since been adopted and passed through the Senate Law & Justice committee where it is now being looked at by the Senate Ways & Means committee. I’ve learned that a report is being prepared for the committee on the amended bill but as of this article there is no hearing date set. In order for the bill to keep moving through the legislature the committee needs to schedule a hearing by the end of next week. And this is where you can help.
Say you support this bill and are asking that the Senate Ways and Means schedule a hearing before Friday, Feb. 27th. Your message will be sent to every legislator.
Currently 14 states have such anti-paternity fraud laws or Supreme Court rulings in place, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri and Texas. Once passed SB 5006 would make Washington State number 15 on that list.
Of note, an additional 4 states allow a selective ability to appeal, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Colorado for example a wrongly named father can only appeal during a divorce or child support action. 2 states, New Hampshire plus California, have established commissions looking into the problem of paternity fraud.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services approximately 46 States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands make provisions allowing putative fathers to contest a notice claiming paternity. Of these States, approximately 13 allow revocation at any time. The link report is a year old, compiled during 2013 and that number is now up to 15 states.
Here in Washington we currently only have 60 days or less to contest a claim of paternity.
Once named, a non-parent has no right of appeal to that finding even in cases of duress, fraud and mistake of fact. This bill would no longer allow the state to deny an appeal of paternity once DNA testing has shown the wrong person has been named. Help pass SB 5006 / HB 1524.
The West Report
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