How Utah Deals With Paternity Questions
Paternity questions are an important part of family law in Utah. Motherhood is generally easy to establish. In certain cases, though, fatherhood may be more complex to determine. When you’re facing questions related to paternity, it’s important to seek legal counsel. The following reference explores the issue from a prospective father’s point of view, to help men dealing with questions of paternity better understand the process. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know and how an experienced legal representative can help you navigate this important family law issue.
“I’m Not The Father”
Situations arise where a woman will assert that a specific man is the father of her child. For any number of reasons, the man may doubt that the information is correct. In these cases, it’s important to establish paternity. If the baby is your child, under state laws in Utah fathers have a number of rights and responsibilities. An important consideration is child support. Another relates to issues such as visitation and custody. Genetic testing can quickly and easily establish paternity, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
“I am The Father and I’m Being Denied My Rights”
At the other end of the spectrum is the situation where a man believes he’s the baby’s father – and is being denied his parental rights. In this case, it’s important to establish fatherhood under the eyes of the law. Once paternity has been definitively established, you can move forward with providing support and negotiating visitation arrangements.
How is Paternity Established in Utah?
There are a number of ways that paternity may be established in the state of Utah:
Voluntary declaration of paternity: A family attorney can help you process a voluntary declaration of paternity (VDP). Using this document, unmarried parents can sign the VDP in front of two witnesses (who also sign the document) stating a child’s parentage. The document is then filed with the Office of Vital Records and Statistics. This process establishes parentage, puts the father’s name on the Utah birth certificate, and can facilitate a name change for the child if both parents agree.
Administrative paternity order: An administrative paternity order can be used to establish paternity outside the court system. Once parents file a request for child support with the Office of Recovery Services, a case will be opened. If either parent is unsure of paternity, genetic testing will be conducted (usually for free by the ORS) to make a final determination. Legal parentage can then be established and decisions made regarding child support and other issues.
Judicial paternity order: A judicial paternity order is the result of a court case that’s used to establish fatherhood. During the court case, genetic testing evidence and other information can be submitted to the court. A judicial order will generally also address the rights and responsibilities of the parents, including visitation, support, and more.
Paternity cases have long-lasting implications for the lives of fathers and children. It’s important to establish clear paternity in order to understand your obligations for supporting the child and whether visitation and other rights may be available to you under the law. An experienced family law attorney can help.
Do you need an experienced family law attorney in Utah to represent your interests in a paternity case or other pending legal matter? Contact Burton Attorneys At Law today to discuss your case and arrange for a personalized consultation.