Unmarried Couples & Paternity
A paternity action is a legal case to determine the father of a child. In the past, paternity cases were typically initiated by unmarried mothers seeking child support from the father. Today, these cases are just as likely to be filed by unmarried fathers who want the right to visitation with their children.
Paternity in Utah can be legally established in three ways: through a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP), administratively, or through a judicial process.
Unmarried parents can sign the VDP form to voluntarily say that a man is the biological father of the child and that he should be legally recognized as the father. The father has up to 60 days or until the date a child support order is established to rescind the VDP.
Paternity can also be established administratively when the mother applies for child support services with the Office of Recovery Services.
A judicial paternity order is the result of a court action. In addition to legally establishing paternity, a judicial order can also address child custody and set up a visitation (parent time) schedule.
If both parents agree who the father is the court will not order a genetic test. If the parents do not agree, the court will order genetic testing. The genetic test uses a DNA sample from both parents and the child. A judicial paternity order can also be used to prove you are not the father of (and therefore, are not required to support) a child born during your marriage.
For more information or about your rights as an unmarried parent, please call (801) 758-7604 or contact us online.
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Stavros Law P.C. is a Utah law firm providing legal services to individuals and businesses in Utah, the Mountain West and across the United States, including Salt Lake City, Draper, Sandy, South Jordan, West Jordan, Lehi, Provo, Orem and Spanish Fork. Our lawyers provide civil litigation, trial and appeal work to clients in federal and state courts throughout the United States. We provide litigation and counseling services for clients in the areas of business and commercial law, employment and labor law, health care law and family law.