In some cases, it is unclear who fathered the child. Determining the paternity of a child involves DNA testing to scientifically ascertain whether a specific individual is the biological father of the child.
Under Utah law paternity can be established in one of three ways:
Paternity is usually determined in the hospital when the child is born and the parents sign a “Voluntary Declaration of Paternity”. If both of the parents do not sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, however, the child does not have a legal father until paternity is established.
If either party denies or is uncertain of paternity of the child, the parties (mother, purported father and the child) will undergo DNA testing. Each party will have the inside of their cheek swabbed and sent for DNA testing.
There are substantial benefits to all parties to have paternity determined:
Child can learn about family background & medical histories;
Child/father can have a relationship with each other;
Father can have enjoy custody (joint or sole) or visitation rights;
Child can potentially access father’s benefits including, health insurance, life insurance, social security income, veteran’s benefits, and inheritance;
Mother can share parental responsibilities and expenses with the father; and
Father can establish a relationship with and participate in the life of the child.
The father, mother, or the Office of Recovery Services can bring a paternity action. The father may bring the action if they believe they are the father and want to participate in the life of the child. The spouse of the mother may also bring a paternity action if the spouse does not believe he is the father of the child.
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