young baby looking at camera

When Would I Need to Establish Paternity?

When a baby is born to a married couple in Utah, both parents automatically have legal rights. Is this the same for unmarried couples?

Establishing Paternity of a Child Outside of Marriage

When an unmarried couple has a baby, the father’s legal paternity is not automatically official. Instead, the father must formally declare paternity. This is most often done using a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP). The unmarried parents may sign this document and file it with the courts. After it is filed, the father can be added to the baby’s birth certificate as their legal father.

Other Methods of Establishing Paternity

While a VDP is widely used among unmarried couples in a romantic relationship, other situations may require different ways of establishing paternity. This may be an Administrative Paternity Order or a Judicial Paternity Order. An Administrative Paternity Order is used when child support is requested. A Judicial Paternity Order involves court action. To learn more, click here.

Establishing Paternity Among Multiple Possible Fathers

In some cases, the mother and father may be uncertain about who the child’s biological father is. In these cases, a genetic test may be completed prior to the legal establishment of paternity. If one party does not consent to genetic testing, the court may file a motion to enforce the test. However, it is important to clarify that the judge cannot make this ruling for testing an unborn child.

The Benefits of Establishing Paternity

There are various benefits to establishing paternity, both for the parents and the child.

Establishing paternity:

  • It gives the father legal rights to custody, visitation, and more
  • Allows the opportunity to obtain child support
  • Grants access to family records
  • May have insurance benefits
  • Can clear up any questions about the child’s biology

Salt Lake City Family Law Attorneys

If you have questions regarding paternity or other family law matters in Utah, contact our legal team at Lokken & Putnam, P.C.. We have extensive knowledge and experience in this area and are here to help you handle your urgent matters. Having unresolved family law issues is draining; let us help you reach a resolution. Call us at (801) 829-9783 to discuss your situation with a member of our team.