Paternity means fatherhood. When a husband and wife have a child, the law recognizes them as the child’s parents. Both mother and father, under Utah law, share the same rights and responsibilities for this child.
When the mother and father of a child are not married to one another, the father of the child does not automatically receive these same rights and responsibilities. Establishing paternity is the only way the father of the child can receive these rights and responsibilities.
To learn more about paternity, continue reading below.
How to Establish Paternity
Unmarried individuals who share a child may establish paternity in one of two ways:
- Both parents can sign a voluntary declaration of paternity, which they submit to the Department of Health, Vital Records, and Statistics. They can sign this declaration at birth or later in the child’s life.
- Additionally, they can file a paternity action in court. The mother will need to prove to the court the man being sued is the father of her child when she files a lawsuit. If the man disputes it, the court may order a DNA test to determine paternity. Legal representation is often necessary and beneficial when filing Utah paternity action.
Reasons to Establish Paternity
There are several reasons why establishing paternity is important:
- Rights — Establishing paternity provides the father his right to request parent time and custody, as well as make important decisions alongside the child’s mother.
- Child Support — A father is required, under Utah law, to support his children, whether he is married to the child’s mother or not.
- Citizenship — Citizenship is provided by the child’s parents. For example, if an American father has a child with a woman from another country, the father can provide his child with American citizenship.
- Stigma — Unfortunately, there is still a social stigma against children without known fathers. Establishing the father can help lessen this stigma.
- Benefits — Establishing paternity will allow a child to inherit its father’s benefits and insurance.
Rights and Obligations of Fathers
Along with rights come obligations. Establishing paternity allows the custodial parent the right to request child support from the noncustodial parent. Additionally, the noncustodial parent has the right to request visitation.
Consequences of Undetermined Paternity
In addition to the financial support of the child, paternity confirmation benefits the health and welfare of the child. Children often suffer serious consequences when their father is undetermined. Determining the father can also help to identify medical conditions and history that can affect the child’s life, now and in the future.
Contact The Ault Firm Today
Paternity is one of the more serious, sensitive, and complicated matters when it comes to family law. It is critical for your case to select the right attorney to represent you. For an experienced paternity lawyer in the Salt Lake City or West Jordan area, contact The Ault Firm. Our team of knowledgeable professionals will help navigate this matter, keep you informed, and adequately protect your rights. Contact the experts at The Ault Firm today to schedule your consultation.