Having a child is one of the most wonderful experiences you could ever imagine, even if you are not married. But you can have some legal challenges when establishing child support if you ever decide to end your relationship. Statistics clearly show that over 40% of births in the United States happen to unmarried couples. Although the percentage is lower in Utah, there are still 20% of unwed couples that struggle with child custody and child support issues. Thankfully, you can handle important issues surrounding child custody and child support with the help of an experienced Salt Lake City child support attorney.
This is one of the most important aspects to consider before creating a visitation agreement. Without establishing paternity, you can’t claim inheritance rights, financial benefits, insurance benefits, and Social Security benefits. A child support order requires the father to establish parentage. In other words, the father must have a legal relationship with the child otherwise the court can’t create visitation agreements, custody, and financial arrangements.
There are two ways to establish paternity in Utah:
- The father can sign a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity.
- Take a paternity test if the paternity is in question.
The mother is always awarded custody
It doesn’t matter how great the father is, the unwed mother generally gains the primary custody of the child. It’s her legal and natural right after the child is born. This means her rights are far superior to the fathers and any other person in the family. However, as long as the father establishes legal paternity, he can claim his child custody or visitation rights in court. Sometimes these cases can be contentious and you may need the assistance of a Salt Lake City child support attorney.
Establishing paternity can be helpful in cases of child abandonment. If a child is not safe he or she can be immediately removed from the mother’s custody and the father can automatically gain custody. However, if the father is not listed on the birth certificate, he can’t claim these rights and the child will be sent to foster care. Also, some unwed mothers may place the children up for adoption without the father’s consent. If the father hasn’t established paternity yet, he may need to go through a complex legal process in order to claim his parental rights.
Claiming the child on your income tax
Only one parent can claim the child as a dependent on the tax return yet the person who claims the children can change each year. Some parents may work out a plan that will benefit more the children and the whole family. But the non-custodial parent or parent providing child support can’t claim child support on his or her taxes.
Call us today
If you need help resolving a paternity or child custody issue, you can give us a call today and schedule your initial case evaluation with Salt Lake City child support attorney Emy A. Cordano. We have decades of experience serving families in Salt Lake City and surrounding cities. We will make sure you receive the rights your children deserve.