Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Are Not Married in Utah?
Many people associate child custody and child support orders with divorce. The truth is, it is relatively common to have child custody and support proceedings between parents who were never married. The process starts with a Utah Parentage Petition. The State has prepared a guide to help unwed parents tackle these legal issues, that is if you do not want to hire a family attorney. Essentially, there is no difference from married parents, other than you are not going to be seeking for a divorce decree. However, there are some main differences.
Utah Child Custody Laws for Unmarried Parents
When a child is born to married parents, the husband becomes the presumed father and has all rights pertaining to that title. However, when a child is born to unwed parents, the father must take steps to preserve his rights. In many cases, the father is on the birth certificate. In those cases, that can act as evidence of fatherhood. However, the court may require the father to undergo DNA testing in some cases. If your case is complicated enough to require proof of parenthood first, you should probably find a good child custody attorney.
Regardless of whether the parties were married, the custodial parent will be able to seek child support. When it comes to tax time, only one parent will get to claim the children on his/her tax return. Typically, it is the payee spouse (the one who receives the payment) who gets to claim the children on a tax return, but that can be negotiated by the parties.
Custody and support battles can last a long time because it is often the most important issue to each parent. The court makes a determination based on the best interest of the children. While the proceedings are pending, and you are either waiting for a court date, or the case to settle, the court can award temporary orders. Temporary orders are a temporary ruling by the court which determines who will have custody and who will pay child support during the proceedings.
If you need help understanding Utah child custody laws for unmarried parents, contact our child support/custody attorney today.