Lehi Paternity Attorney
Protecting the Rights of Mothers and Fathers throughout Highland, Utah County, and Salt Lake County
Paternity is an extremely important legal matter, as it officially establishes a mother’s or father’s legal relationship with a child. Delaying a paternity case could result in the permanent loss of father’s rights, for instance, so it is critical that you get started on your paternity petition as soon as possible. Our firm is well-versed in the legal procedures of Utah’s family courts, and we can help you build a strong paternity case that asserts your rights to your child. Whether you are a mother seeking to establish the paternity of the father or a father who wants to exercise your parental rights, SeegLawUtah can help.
Schedule a consultation with our firm online to get started.
Ways to Establish Paternity
In a paternity case, a party (usually either the mother or father) is taking legal action to determine the child's legal father. Paternity suits can be brought to establish child support, to establish custodial or parent-time rights, or for moral reasons.
There are several ways to establish paternity, one of which is a voluntary declaration. A Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP) is a legal form that allows unmarried parents to declare the paternity of their child voluntarily. You may rescind your declaration within 60 days, but after this period paternity is finalized. Note that you should only establish paternity this way if you are sure about who the biological father is.
If the mother and alleged father are not on close terms, either parent who seeks to establish paternity might file a court case asking the judge to declare the father’s paternity and make orders for child support, child custody, and parent-time. The court will order a genetic test to confirm parentage. You may also establish paternity administratively outside of the court with the Office of Recovery Services (ORS), which will also order a genetic test. Cases with the administrative ORS will involve child support orders.
Common Questions About Paternity
Paternity is a complex legal matter and can be confusing for both the mother and the father, depending on their goals for establishing paternity. Some common questions and answers about paternity are:
What if I'm not sure who the actual father is?
- If there is a question about who the biological father is, the court will order a DNA test, which involves ordering both prospective parents and the child to be tested.
What if I believe a child is mine, but I delay filing a paternity case?
- There can be grave consequences for unmarried biological fathers who do not take initiative and establish paternity. Under some circumstances, the unmarried biological father may have no right to receiving notice of an adoption, and his unvested rights to the child (called "inchoate rights" until he establishes paternity) could be lost forever. This is one reason it is imperative for an unmarried biological father to establish paternity as soon as possible.
The mother is pregnant and has not given birth. Should I file before the baby is born?
- Yes. Filing early is the best way to preserve your rights. If you wait to file, you could lose parent-time rights until several months after you file your case. Therefore, if you wait until after the baby is born, the baby could be 3-4 months before you are able to get court-ordered parent-time.
If you have questions or concerns about paternity in Utah, do not hesitate to contact our firm for more information. We can help you with any stage of the paternity process, from filing a voluntary declaration to filing a court case. Let us protect your parental rights in Lehi, Utah.
Contact SeegLawUtah online to schedule a consultation today. Representing mothers and fathers in Highland, Utah County, and Salt Lake County.