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Paternal Rights in a Utah Divorce

On behalf of Gregory W. Stevens, Attorney at Law on Thursday, October 10, 2019.

The divorce process can be difficult for families. However, when both parents work to remain in the child's life, it can be beneficial for the child's well-being.

Unfortunately, in regards to the father's parental rights, undergoing a divorce can have negative effects if the father does not take proper action. To that point, there are a few things to know about a father's paternal rights.

Established Rights

It is possible to establish paternal rights without extensive documentation. If a male is listed as the father on a child's birth certificate, and is married to the child's mother when the child is born, then the male is usually considered the child's father and has paternal rights in the eyes of the court.

Establishing Rights

For men who are not included on the child's birth certificate, establishing paternity is key to securing paternal rights. One of the first steps is petitioning the court and taking a paternity test. Parties may request the test upon the child's birth. While most people pursue paternity tests in an effort to establish child support, the test also helps to substantiate a father's claim to his paternal rights.

Exercising Those Rights

Once a father establishes his paternal rights, he can take more control of his relationship with his child. Particularly regarding divorce, establishing paternity ensures that the father will have consideration in regards to child custody. If the father later desires more parenting time, or a form of modification within the parenting plan agreement, he has the right to do so. For those fathers who become the custodial parent, it may be possible to seek child support.

Having to pursue paternal rights is not always easy or fair, but it is worth the fight. Working with a knowledgeable attorney can help to make the process easier and more successful.