Issues related to paternity often arise in cases involving child support, adoption, inheritance, custody, or visitation.
The paternity lawyers at Froerer & Miles in Ogden, UT, can provide support for mothers, fathers, or children involved in paternity cases.
Read on for more information about paternity law in Utah, and to learn how our attorneys can help your family...
What Is Paternity?
Paternity is the legal establishment of fatherhood and defines the rights and obligations of both the father and the child.
In Utah, issues related to paternity often come up when a married couple decides to divorce or when a child is born to an unmarried woman. Properly establishing paternity is critical in these situations because it affects a man's parental rights and his responsibilities for paying child support.
Paternity can be established voluntarily through several methods, or involuntarily through a lawsuit. When you are involved in a paternity case, working with an attorney who understands family law in Utah can ensure that all of your legal bases are covered and that your rights are protected.
How Is Paternity Determined in Utah?
The most common way of establishing paternity is through marriage. When a child is born to a married couple, the husband is presumed to be the legal father. If a child is born within 300 days of a marriage being terminated, whether through divorce or some other means, the ex-husband is still presumed to be the legal father.
Declaration of Paternity
Two unmarried parents can agree to sign an official Voluntary Declaration of Paternity form. Once this form is filed, the man who signed it becomes the child's legal father. It is important for biological fathers to legally establish paternity to ensure they do not lose their rights to another father figure in the future.
The mother of a child can also establish paternity by initiating a paternity lawsuit with the help of a lawyer. In these types of cases, the probable father is required to appear in court. The court will likely conduct a DNA test to determine biological parentage. If the court establishes paternity, the father will be required to pay child support.
Of course, any man can become a child's legal father through adoption. At Froerer & Miles in Ogden, UT, our family law team assists couples through the adoption process.
Do You Have Questions about Paternity? Request a Free Consultation with Our Lawyers
Froerer & Miles has provided family law services in Ogden and Layton, UT, since 1959. Our attorneys assist men and women in all sorts of parenting disputes, including those related to:
Our paternity attorneys are standing by and ready to answer your questions about legal fatherhood. We offer completely free consultations, and we have a 24-hour response guarantee. Contact us today, and you will hear back by tomorrow.
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The Legal Significance of Paternity
However paternity is established, it offers important legal protections and provides necessary rights to both parent and child. The legal significance of established paternity differs for the mother, father, and child:
For the Mother
Paternity determinations are an effective method of securing financial support from the father. However, established paternity can also require the mother to share custody with the father or allow for visitation.
For the Father
Legally established paternity holds the father responsible for his share of support and responsibility. A successful paternity suit can compel an unwilling father to provide financial support. In addition, legal paternity affords the father custody and visitation rights to the child and gives him the opportunity to provide or refuse consent in the event of an adoption.
For the Child
In addition to gaining financial support, a paternity determination affords a variety of rights to the child, including the right to:
- Receive shelter and aid
- Access personal information about familial health history
- Sue for harm or death of the father
- Receive workers’ compensation benefits
Knowing who their father is can also offer a sense of emotional and psychological relief for a child.
We Represent Men and Women
Our attorneys can help you gain a larger role in your child's life by asking for genetic testing that proves you are the biological father.
Our attorneys can also help you protect your rights and resources by proving that you are not a child's biological father.
Our lawyers can help you establish your child's parentage so that you can receive the financial support you need from the child's father.
When a man who is not your child's father tries to claim parental rights, we can help you file motions to prevent that from happening.
About Froerer & Miles
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Paternity in Utah FAQs
Is there a statute of limitations for paternity suits?
In Utah, it is never too late to file a paternity suit to determine a child's legal father. However, the timing of the paternity declaration can affect how much child support is owed. Upon legally confirming paternity, a man is retroactively responsible for paying up to four years of child support, in addition to ongoing support until the child turns 18. For example, if you are an unmarried woman and you determine your child's legal father a month after the child's birth, the father will pay child support for the child's whole upbringing, as well as the month between birth and paternity confirmation. However, if paternity is not proven until a child is 22 years of age, the father may not have any financial obligations.
How is the Office of Recovery Services (ORS) involved?
The ORS has the ability to legally establish paternity and child support arrangements outside of court through an administrative order. An administrative order can be requested at any time. The ORS cannot make any decisions about custody or parenting time, however.
Do I need a lawyer when establishing paternity?
You are not legally required to have the assistance of a lawyer when establishing paternity of a child, but we highly recommend consulting with our Ogden attorneys during these situations, especially if you are unmarried. Without a lawyer, you may make a mistake that can cause a lot of frustration and heartache in the future. Of course, if you are going through a divorce, you should consult with a lawyer for numerous other reasons as well.