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Salt Lake City Paternity Lawyers

Davis County paternity attorneys

Experienced Salt Lake City Paternity Attorneys Serving Utah

In Utah, paternity refers to legally establishing a child’s father’s identity. If there are questions or objections about who a child’s biological father is, it is critical to establish paternity because of the significant implications it doing so has for both the parents and the child.

The family law attorneys at Collins Rupp, P.C. understand what a stressful and emotional process establishing paternity can be and are committed to protecting your rights every step of the way, whether you need help establishing the paternity of your child or you are seeking to contest it.

Why Establishing Paternity Is So Important

There are several legal reasons why determining paternity is so important. One of the primary reasons for establishing paternity is to ensure that both parents contribute financially to the upbringing of their child. Once paternity is established, the non-custodial parent may be required to pay child support to the custodial parent. The court will look at both parents' incomes to calculate what that amount should be based on Utah child support guidelines.

Paternity also determines parental rights and responsibilities regarding custody and parenting time. Under Utah law, there are two types of custody – legal and physical. Legal custody grants decision-making rights for the child’s education, medical care, religion, and other vital issues. Physical custody addresses which parent the child will live with and how much parenting time (or visitation) the other parent will have. Our family lawyers will work with you to create a child custody agreement and parenting time schedule that will focus on the best interest of your child while also ensuring your parental rights are protected.

Establishing paternity also ensures the child has the legal right to inherit from the father’s estate. Without paternity established, the child may be ineligible to receive inheritance or other benefits from the father or the father’s family.

Although the legal reasons for paternity are crucial, our paternity lawyers know that there are other non-legal reasons that are just as important. Children who know who their father is typically have stronger sense of identity and belonging. The father-child relationship can help children feel connected to their familial roots, heritage, and extended family members, which can foster a stronger sense of self.

A child’s emotional well-being is closely tied to a sense of security and stability within the family unit. Ideally, establishing paternity will allow a child to form a relationship with the father, which can be crucial for emotional development. This relationship can provide opportunities for bonding, support, and attachment, ultimately enhancing the child’s self-esteem, social skills, and ability to form healthy relationships in the future.

Knowing the identity of both parents also allows a child to access important medical history information and benefits such as health insurance, Social Security, and veteran’s benefits, if applicable.

How Does Utah Law Recognize Paternity?

In Utah, when a child is born during a marriage, the husband is presumed to be the child’s legal father. However, if the parents are unmarried, paternity is not presumed, and the mother has sole legal and physical custody. There are several ways that paternity can be legally established.

When there is no question about paternity, both parents sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity. This is usually done at the hospital after the child’s birth, but it can also be done later. When done at the hospital, the father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. If the declaration is signed at a later date, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate as an amendment.

If there is a question about paternity or if an alleged father refuses to sign a declaration of paternity, genetic testing can be done to establish the father's identity with certainty. DNA testing involves collecting samples from the child, the mother, and the alleged father to compare genetic markers and verify biological relationships. These tests can either be done voluntarily or a court can issue an order for DNA testing. Results are recognized as highly accurate and carry significant legal weight in Utah family courts.

Contact Our Salt Lake City, Utah Paternity Lawyers for Legal Assistance

If there are questions or conflicts about your child's paternity, establishing paternity is essential for protecting the rights of both you and your child. Do not try to navigate this critical process without the legal guidance of a seasoned and compassionate Salt Lake County, UT paternity lawyer. Call Collins Rupp, P.C. at 385-777-2753 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation to find out what your legal options are.

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