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What rights does the father have of an unborn baby in the state of Washington?

Spokane, WA |

My best friend is expecting a baby with a women who always claims she will just leave with their son to Illinois and not allow the father to see him. For no reason at all. Can she just up and leave to another state with this son?

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Attorney answers 3


In WA, until the baby is born, potential fathers have no right to the baby. If the friend is concerned that the mother is leaving the state, the friend can file a petition with the WA court before the baby's birth and before the mother leaves WA. WA court will then continue to have the power to decide the issues relating to the baby even if the mother leaves WA before the birth.

See RCW 26.26.550 (Proceeding to adjudicate parentage — Before birth). The statutes are at .

Your friend should review the specific facts with his attorney to find out his legal options.

Mary Katherine Brown

Mary Katherine Brown


This is an excellent answer! Unfortunately, not all states have a procedure for adjudicating parentage before birth, so it is especially important to take advantage of the above-referenced statute.


It is always very important for unmarried fathers to understand that they must take steps to establish "legal" paternity before they will have any parental rights. As such, I strongly recommend that your friend consult with a local attorney immediately to review the rights, options and obligations of all involved parties. You can find local attorneys by searching among the profiles here on Avvo. Good luck!

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Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: All of Ms. Brown’s responses to questions posted on AVVO are intended as general information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are provided for educational purposes of the public, not any specific individual, and her response to the question above is not legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Brown is licensed to practice law in New York. If you would like to obtain specific legal advice about this issue, you must contact an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state.


Have your friend consult with a family law attorney in private right away. Many family law attorneys, including myself, offer free initial consultations.