Why every Utah father should establish paternity

Establishing paternity in Utah can benefit the father, mother and child in a number of ways.

A mother, father and child can all stand to benefit from establishing paternity in Utah. As the state's Office of Recovery Services points out, doing so can assist with the following:

  • It can provide a child access to his or her family's health history.
  • The child could be added to medical insurance and be legally entitled to veteran benefits, Social Security benefits and other benefits.
  • Both parents would have to financially support the child.
  • The father could gain rights to making decisions, custody and visitation.
  • In some circumstances, the child could gain citizenship rights.

These factors alone should motivate parents to ensure that a child's father is legally on record. Beyond this, though, is the fact that the relationship a child has with both a mother and father can play an invaluable role.

Below are the items that anyone in Utah seeking to establish paternity should know.

How can I establish paternity?

If the parents of a child are married when the child is born, the husband is assumed to be the father. Otherwise, for unmarried couples, the Utah State Courts note that there are several ways that paternity may be established. The first is through a voluntary declaration. Both parents may sign this at the time of the child's birth or at anytime afterward.

There is also an administrative paternity order. If one parent applies for child support, the Office of Recovery Services may issue this order. Once fatherhood is determined, the state's guidelines for paying child support will be applied.

Lastly, there is a judicial paternity order, which results when there is some action in court taken. For example, either parent could file a decree of parentage with the courts. Through this method, child support, custody and parenting time decisions may also be determined.

What methods are used?

A simple DNA test can reveal whether or not a man is the father of a child. In some cases, the parties involved may have to have blood drawn. However, there is a less invasive option that involves using a cotton swab to collect cells from the inside of the cheek. Those cells are then sent to a certified lab.

What if I am concerned that my child will be adopted?

In situations in which paternity has yet to be established, a father may have concerns about the child getting adopted. The man can contact a district court in Utah to file the appropriate paperwork to receive notice of any pending adoption. Once he has established fatherhood, he may have rights to the child or be able to give consent for the adoption.

Though it may seem simple to establish paternity, these cases can grow complex and can threaten the rights of everyone involved. People who have questions about this issue should speak with a family law attorney in Utah.