Paternity and child support considerations
Typically, divorce proceedings that take place in the state of Utah account for the establishment and enforcement of child support payments. In many cases, however, child support is sought by unmarried parents and involves a number of different legal considerations. Legal paternity is a major factor in many child support cases, and can have a significant impact both custodial and noncustodial parents alike.
According to the Paternity Matters website created by the Utah Office of Recovery Services, both parents are legally obligated to financially support their children. Child support arrangements are intended to outline and enforce such legal obligations no matter if the parents were married or not. As a result, establishing legal paternity not only extends parental rights to biological fathers but also makes them eligible to receive or pay child support.
In the event that the father and mother of a child are not married when that child is born, it may be necessary to establish paternity under Utah state law. Utah guidelines on establishing court-ordered paternity explain that there are several ways to determine paternity, including the completion of a voluntary Declaration of Paternity document or a court-ordered judgment of paternity. Once paternity is established, both parents have equal rights and responsibilities to the child under the law. For instance, a man who is legally identified as biological father of a child can then pursue child custody and/or child support arrangements. Similarly, a mother who is the custodial parent can seek to enforce child support obligations from the child’s other parent.