Parental Rights For Unmarried Couples
In today’s society, it is not uncommon for unmarried people to have children together. When these couples split, there is usually not any sort of court order guiding how important decisions regarding the children will be handled.
Resolving Parenting Issues
At the law firm of Kristopher K. Greenwood & Associates, our attorneys have extensive experience establishing parental rights for unmarried couples. We work with our clients to obtain a clear understanding of their objectives, and then take the steps necessary to meet those goals. We help our clients obtain court orders that will cover critical parenting issues, including:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Medical decisions
- Child care
- Health care
Every situation is unique, and the needs of each individual will be different based on his or her circumstances. At Kristopher K. Greenwood & Associates, we are skilled at establishing parental rights for unmarried couples and finding workable solutions. To speak with an attorney about your rights, call us at (801) 475-8800. You can also reach us online.
Why Paternity Is Important
In Utah, before custody or any other parental rights are given to a child’s father, paternity must be established. Paternity determines who is the legal father of a child. Many fathers are unaware that having their name on a child’s birth certificate is not enough to establish paternity.
Paternity is important because it not only gives the child’s father legal rights and responsibilities, but it also offers protections for the child. Once paternity is established, a child may be put on his or her father’s health insurance plan and is entitled to receive benefits, such as Social Security or veterans benefits. The child also has inheritance rights in the event that the father passes away.
Paternity is also important for the unmarried mother because it entitles her to receive child support from the child’s father.
Paternity can be established in one of the three ways:
- Voluntary Declaration of Paternity (VDP) — This is a legal acknowledgement of paternity that is often signed by the parents along with the birth certificate when the child is born.
- Administrative Paternity Order — Paternity can also be established administratively through the Office of Recovery Services if a parent applies for child support and paternity is proven.
- Judicial paternity — This is the most powerful way of establishing paternity because it is the form of paternity that enables the ORS to set up or enforce custody or parenting time arrangements with the child. To obtain a judicial order of paternity, either parent or both parents have the right to petition to court, establishing paternity.
As soon as paternity has been established, the unmarried parents will stand in the same position as divorcing couples.