30 Years of Experience

Utah Paternity Lawyer

Paternity refers to the legal recognition of a man as the father of a child. Establishing paternity is essential for several reasons, including ensuring a father has legal rights to the child, determining parental rights and responsibilities, ensuring access to child support, and promoting the child’s wellbeing by building relationships with both parents.

When a married couple has a baby, the husband is designated as the legal father. But when an unmarried couple has a baby, the man is not automatically designated as the father. He must take the necessary steps to establish his rights and define his duties, which is known as establishing paternity. It can be established though various means, including Voluntary Declaration, Administrative Order, or Custody Order. Utah has specific laws and procedures governing paternity establishment, which can vary depending on individual circumstances.

- Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP): Unmarried parents can sign a VDP to say that a man is the biological father of a child. The VDP is filed with the Office of Vital Records and Statistics. This adds the father’s name to the child’s Utah birth certificate. It can also change the child’s name if the child is less than 1 year old. (Utah Code, Title 78B, Chapter 15, Part 3)

- Administrative Paternity Order: The Office of Recovery Services (ORS) issues a Notice of Agency Action (NAA) to both parents after the parent with custody applies for cash assistance from the state (welfare, TANF, FEP, or Medicaid). Both parents may respond to the NAA. ORS will determine who is the father of the child. (Utah Code Title 78B, Chapter 12Utah Code 26B-9-205, Utah Admin Code R527-200-12)

- Custody Order: A Custody Order comes from a court case. One of the parents can file a custody case to ask the court to decide who the legal father is of a child. If the court order says to add a parent, remove a parent, or change the child’s name, the parents can amend a Utah birth certificate based on that order. (Utah Code Title 78B, Chapter 12, Utah Code 30-3-10 through 37)

Example Cases:

  1. Establishing Paternity
  2. Contesting Paternity
  3. Child Custody and Support
  4. Parental Rights and Responsibilities
  5. Marriage Dissolution/Cancellation

Establishing paternity can be a simple process, or it can present complex challenges depending on the case. In such instances, legal intervention may be necessary to establish paternity accurately. Schedule a consultation with our experienced team of paternity lawyers to discuss the details of your case and explore your options to best move forward.

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