While most people living in Utah and other places around the country may assume that identifying paternity plays a large role in resolving many family law issues, that’s not always the case. Legislation concerning child custody can vary from state to state, and sometimes standards do not always reflect current issues. One recent case illustrates how previously established laws affect modern cases, and highlights the complicated role paternity plays in some custody disputes.
PATERNITY NOT A FACTOR IN SOME CHILD CUSTODY DISPUTES
The case in question took place in Michigan, and revolves around the issue of parental versus paternity rights. In 1956, it was established that a man didn’t necessarily have to be the biological father of a child to be responsible for that child in Michigan. As long as the man was married to the child’s mother, he was granted parental rights. That ruling, while meant to safeguard the rights of men at the time, now stands in the way of one man seeking custody of his biological child.
The Michigan appeals court that has most recently ruled on the man’s case concedes that the law does not support his paternity claims even though it acknowledges that the plaintiff is doing the right thing by attempting to be with his child. According to the court, because the child’s mother was married at the time she and the plaintiff had a baby together two years ago, the plaintiff’ s paternity does not determine parental rights. The law dictates that the woman’s husband be recognized as the child’s legal parent.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ESTABLISHING PATERNITY
From child support to the costs associated with raising a child, parents may encounter a number of challenges, especially if they are going through a divorce or recently separated from the father or mother of their child. However, establishing paternity can be vital and it is important to understand the benefits of paternity establishment for parents and children in Salt Lake City, and across Utah.
The State of Utah offers an online portal known as Paternity Matters for people who have questions related to paternity. According to the site, establishing paternity provides a variety of advantages. First of all, children cannot access any of their biological father’s benefits (Social Security, inheritance, veteran’s benefits, etc.) unless paternity has been established. Also, paternity establishment can help children receive the financial support that they require as well as medical insurance they need.
Establishing paternity also provides children with a better understanding of their family health history and provides biological fathers with the ability to pursue certain legal rights such as child custody, visitation and the ability to make decisions concerning their child. Furthermore, if a child’s father was born in another country, the father’s country of origin may provide a child with rights once paternity has been established. Whether you are a father who wishes to gain access to legal rights regarding your child or a mother who has realized the benefits associated with paternity establishment, handling the process of establishing paternity properly is paramount.
CAN I GET CREDIT FOR IN-KIND SUPPORT PAYMENTS?
If you are a parent who owes child support, it is important to understand both your rights and your responsibilities. Covering child support can be difficult, but it is vital to provide children with support they depend on and avoid becoming delinquent. If you live in Salt Lake City, or elsewhere in Utah, you may be able to get credit for making other types of payments rather than cash child support payments.
According to the Office of Recovery Services, there are a number of different types of payments noncustodial parents may be able to get credit for, which are known as in-kind support. If you had an in-kind arrangement with your child’s custodial parent that was filed in court, or if you were asked to make a home payment as an alternative to making a cash child support payment, the ORS may give you credit.
From in-kind support to cash child support, it is vital to ensure that you understand and abide by your obligations. After all, the consequences of owing back child support can be severe, from facing arrest and steep fines to spending time in prison. However, if you are experiencing hardships or have become unable to continue making child support payments, you should evaluate your choices right away. For example, you may be able to lessen the burden by modifying your child support order.
Free Consultation with Paternity Lawyer
If you have a question about child custody question or if you need help with paternity, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will help you.
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506