The law in Utah recognizes that a father has the same parental rights and responsibilities as a mother. However, in certain situations, a father must legally establish his paternity in order to have these parental rights. When two parents are not married at the time of conception or birth, it will be necessary for the father to establish paternity to receive child custody rights. In addition, a mother will have to establish paternity to receive a court order for child support from the father. In either of these situations, it is important to consult with an experienced Salt Lake City family law attorney who understands your options in paternity actions. At CoilLaw, LLC, we have helped many parents and children effectively establish paternity and handle all legal matters that may result from a paternity action.
Ways To Establish Legal Paternity
How you can establish legal paternity will depend on many different factors, including whether both parents are cooperative or whether paternity is disputed by one of the parents. The following are the two main methods of establishing paternity:
- Voluntary Declaration of Paternity — If both parents agree on paternity, they can sign a form, have the signing witnessed by two others, and file the form with the office of the Department of Health’s Vital Records and Statistics. The Department will process the form and add the legal father’s name to the birth certificate.
- Judicial proceedings — If paternity is disputed or cannot be established voluntarily, the father, mother, or child can initiate court proceedings to determine paternity by filing a Petition to Adjudicate Paternity. A DNA test may be requested and the court will decide whether or not to establish paternity based on the evidence.
Implications Of Establishing Paternity
If you believe you are the father of a child, establishing legal paternity will allow you to have custody or visitation rights. If you are facing potential custody proceedings, you should always have an attorney who fully understands Salt Lake City child custody laws and who can protect your rights to have a meaningful relationship with your child.
Legal paternity also comes with obligations to provide financial support for your child. If you are the custodial parent of a child whose legal paternity was recently established, you may entitled to monthly child support payments. Salt Lake City child support determinations are made by the family courts in line with state guidelines and a qualified family law attorney can help ensure that a child support order is fair in your case.
Consult With A Salt Lake City Paternity Attorney Today
The family court system can be complicated and confusing and it is imperative to have the assistance of a skilled attorney every step of the way. The attorney’s at CoilLaw, LLC are qualified to handle a wide range of Salt Lake City domestic litigation matters, from paternity to custody and support to divorce, and more. Attorney Jill L. Coil has helped many mothers and fathers protect their parental rights and obligations, so please call our office today at (801) 884-3775 for assistance.