Paternity means far more than being the biological father of a child. Fathers have a special bond with their children, and that connection must be protected. In the legal sense of the word, paternity concerns a father’s legal rights. David Pedrazas is a Salt Lake City paternity attorney who helps Utah fathers through every aspect of their legal actions pertaining to paternity, including:
- The Legal Presumption of Paternity
- Establishing Paternity
- Taking a Paternity Action to Court
- And More
The Legal Presumption of Paternity
Utah state law presumes that if a child is born to parents who are married, the husband is the child’s biological father. On the other hand, if parents are not married, Utah makes no presumption as to the child’s father.
When there is no paternal presumption, a father may wish to sign a voluntary declaration of paternity. A voluntary paternity declaration lets a Utah man affirm his status as the child’s father biologically. If there is no paternal presumption on behalf of a father, there can be dire legal consequences. Fathers without a legal paternity status lose critical rights and privileges pertaining to child custody and visitation. In the event that the man splits with his significant other, all visitation and custody will be at the mother’s discretion unless the father establishes paternity.
Utah law expressly provides three ways to establish paternity for an unmarried father. First, both parents may sign a voluntary Declaration of Paternity. Second, a father may apply for child support services in order to obtain an Administrative Paternity Order from the Office of Paternity Services. Under this method of establishing paternity, the father’s paternity must be verified before the Administrative Paternity Order is granted.
Additionally, a court petition can request a judgment of paternity. This petition may come from the state of Utah, the child or one or both parents. If the petition is contested by the other parent, courts can order blood or genetic marker tests to conclusively determine paternity.
Advantages of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity is essential so fathers have the same rights and responsibilities as any other father, regardless of their marital status. A parent’s legal rights will be protected in important determinations such as custody and visitation rights. Paternity is not merely a father’s rights issue, either. Unmarried mothers who wish to receive child support in Utah must be able to prove that the man they wish to receive child support from is truly the father. In instances where the father is looking to avoid paternal responsibility, a mother may have as much incentive to establish paternity as the father, if not more.
Children benefit greatly from establishing paternity as well. Establishing paternity ensures, first and foremost, that a child can and will be financially supported by both parents. Moreover, the child will be able to have access to information concerning the medical histories of both sides of the family. Further, the child is only entitled to a father’s Social Security insurance, veteran benefits and inheritance assets if paternity is established.
A father can also have key insights regarding what is best for the child. Establishing paternity ensures the father’s input will be heard on matters regarding where the child is raised as well as visitation concerns. Since a court makes these determinations largely on the basis of what is best for the child, such input is valuable.
David Pedrazas Gives Utah Parents the Legal Counsel Needed to Navigate Utah Paternity
There are too many legal rights and benefits afforded to parents who establish paternity to ignore the process altogether. Utah parents need an attorney who will help them navigate any and all aspects of Utah paternity laws. The Law Office of David Pedrazas advises parents so they can establish paternity to protect legal rights and provide for the interests of their children. To learn more about establishing paternity for your particular circumstances, contact us to receive a free case evaluation and take the first step towards protecting your legal rights and your child.