What is Paternity?
Paternity is the state of being a father, particularly fatherhood that is recognized legally. Paternity can be established using a DNA test or a genetic test to determine that an alleged father is biological or not. The DNA test is extremely reliable, and can provide a probability of paternity of 99% or higher.
How to Establish Paternity of Child in Utah?
In the case of a wed couple, it is simply assumed that a woman’s husband is the father of her child when it is born. Paternity claims can be challenged, if it is believed that an affair took place.
Unmarried men must establish paternity in order to gain rights to their children by either signing a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (as described in Utah Code Section 78B-15-302) or by petitioning the court. One parent may apply for child support services and obtain an Administrative Paternity Order through the Office of Recovery Services once paternity is verified. However, if the child’s mother or adoptive parents refuse to recognize the declaration, a man must then demand a paternity test that will determine the child’s biological parentage.
Why is it Important to Establish Paternity of a Child?
In typical cases, paternity must be established before a mother can demand financial support for her child. However, in cases where a father wants to help — wants to be a father to his child — paternal tests are important because it is a means of proving a child is his.
But, proving paternity is not only important for the father, but the child as well. Proof of paternity gives a child rights to:
- Access to medical history
- Health and life insurance benefits
- Military benefits
- Child support
- Child custody / visitation rights
This also allows you to be a part of the child’s life and for the child is able to know his or her father. The child has a right to inherit from the father, have knowledge of the paternal family’s medical history, and receive any benefits from government or court proceeding if the father is to have an untimely or unlawful death.
How the Process of Paternity Testing Works
Half of your genetic code comes from your maternal side and the other half comes from your paternal side. When a DNA test is carried out, a finger prick blood sample, or a cotton swab of the mouth is taken from the mother, the child, and the father in question. Since your DNA is the same throughout your body, it does not matter the method. The DNA samples from the alleged parents are then compared to the child. If samples of the child’s DNA cannot be matched to the father’s sample, he can be ruled out as being a possible father to the child.
There is no age limit for genetic testing to be carried out, and special tests can be performed before the child is even born. DNA tests can also be completed without the mother, or her knowledge – although it is strongly recommended the mother’s sample be used. These tests are extremely reliable and DNA cannot be altered by medications, food, or lifestyle.
There are home tests that you can do for your own knowledge, however these are admissible in court. DNA tests performed by professionals in a lab will take 3-4 working days to get your results back. The results of DNA tests are confidential, and results are only released to the members tested and those they give permission to, such as a family law attorney.
Challenging paternity – Disputing Parentage and Genetic Testing
In Utah, a man being told he is the father of the child, and he is not sure, has the right to request a DNA test to confirm parentage. In cases where to possible fathers are related, their samples will be very similar and you should inform the laboratory of this situation. Everyone, except identical twins, has their own unique set of DNA.
If there is already a court order in place requiring you to pay support, you must continue to comply with the court order until otherwise notified by the court.
Salt Lake City, Utah Paternity Council and Child Custody Attorney
Almost every paternity case in Utah is difficult, regardless of how cut-and-dried it seems. For paternity council in Salt Lake City, Utah — for any Paternity and Child Custody Attorney needs. Wall and Wall Attorneys at Law is the place to go for those needing help with their paternity or child custody case.
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