A custody battle is always unpleasant, but can be even more so if it has been complicated by the legalities of the parents not being married. In legal terms, where the parents were not married, it can be difficult for the father to gain custody of the child, or even to successfully obtain visitation rights. If you are an unmarried parent attempting to legally secure access to your child, you may find that the words custody, parentage, and paternity regularly appear in the material you have been reading. The different words suggest that they refer to different matters – but what do they really mean?
An experienced Salt Lake City child custody attorney explains what you need to know, and what type of case you may be dealing with.
Differentiating between Custody, Parentage, and Paternity
Firstly, when you are seeking access to your children, or want to have your custody or visitation agreement confirmed by the courts, you should always work with an experienced, empathetic Salt Lake City child custody attorney. As you have probably realized by now, legal matters relating to minor children can be incredibly complicated and complex and are best handled by those with the relevant legal knowledge.
For now, here is what you need to know about some of the key legal terms you are likely to encounter. Your Salt Lake City child custody attorney will discuss the specifics, and how they apply to your case, in more detail but, in brief:
- Parentage refers to the origin or descent of both mother and father
- Paternity refers simply to the father of the child, with maternity referring to the mother. For example, a paternity suit may be filed to legally establish that you are the child’s father
- Custody refers to the living arrangements of the child, and the day-to-day relationship they have with each parent. The custodial parent lives with the child for the majority of the time, while the non-custodial parent will pay child support and care for the child during their scheduled visitation times. Under Utah law, there are two types of custody – physical custody and legal custody. Your Salt Lake City child custody attorney, again, will explain these in more detail during your initial consultation
If you are an unmarried parent and wish to establish the paternity of your child, there are three ways in which this can be done in Utah:
- By using an administrative paternity order
- A voluntary declaration of paternity
- Through a court, using a judicial paternity order
Speak to a Salt Lake City Child Custody Attorney About Your Paternity Suit Today
When deciding on child custody cases, the legal system is primarily concerned with the best interests of the child in question, as they should be. The complex process you will need to follow beforehand has been designed to ensure that the decision reached is an informed and accurate one, and will require relevant legal experience to navigate efficiently.