How Do I Establish Paternity If One Parent Disappears?

How Do I Establish Paternity If One Parent Disappears


Brianna is seven years old and lives with her mother. Her father signed her birth certificate when she was born in 2012. Shortly after that, he left without return, giving Brianna’s mother no address or information for future contact. Briana’s mother believes he moved to California; however, she has no real knowledge of his whereabouts.

Her mother wants to get Brianna a passport so they can travel out of the country. She cannot because both parents have to sign unless she has full custody. She plans to file a paternity suit to establish custody but cannot serve him personally due to the lack of information.

So, how can Brianna’s mother serve her father without a proper address?

The father must be served but, in this situation, Brianna’s mother may serve the father by publication. RCW 4.28.100(4). The summons for the action must be in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the action is brought. After filing the complaint or petition, the summons must be published once a week for six consecutive weeks after filing the claim. The service of the summons shall be deemed complete at the expiration of the time prescribed for publication. Most King County residents publishing a summons use the Journal of Daily Commerce ( You can email them to obtain the costs and procedures.

2 Responses to How Do I Establish Paternity If One Parent Disappears?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *