Home > paternity/child custody > Biological Fathers: Rights, part II

Biological Fathers: Rights, part II

In Part 1 of our (not so happy) story about the “rights” of biological fathers, I specifically spoke to issues surrounding adoption of children born to parties who are not married.  In this little post, I’ll tell you what your rights are if your girlfriend ISN’T putting your child up for adoption.

And your rights are………..

The Right to pay child support.  The End.

Doesn’t matter if he’s on the birth certificate, doesn’t matter if he pays child support–Not married to the Baby Mama=No Visitation or Custody Rights. Sorry, dude :/

The way it works, see, is that if you’re not married to the mama, you don’t have any custody and visitation rights at all, unless and until you petition the court for rights.  This means you need to file a paternity action.  Now I know what you’re thinking:  “I’m on the birth certificate!  We all know that I’m the father!  Why am I filing a ‘paternity’ action??”  You are because that’s what they’re called:  It’s a Petition for Custody and Paternity.

The good news here is that unless you’re a horribly abusive sex offender type, you’re going to be granted at least standard statutory minimum visitation (once you petition for it), and could also likely get joint legal custody (see the blog post on the difference between legal and physical custody to find out what this means.)  Visitation under the minimums is found at U.C.A. 30-3-35.5 and 30-3-35.  -35.5 is for kids who are under 5 years of age; -35 is for kids between 5 and 18 years of age.  If you have more than one kid, and their ages span the range from under 5 to over 5, the court will give you visitation with all of them under the Over 5 schedule.

It’s a pain to have to file an action.  But truly, unless you do so, you are entitled to absolutely no contact with your child.  Mama can get pissed and take the kid and never ever ever let you see him/her.  Ever.  And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it without a court order granting you visitation.

But you ALWAYS have the “right” to pay child support.  Aren’t you thrilled. :/

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  1. November 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Oh, and by the way…If the Baby Mama slaps a protective order on you, you could end up getting visitation with your child under that, without having to do the paternity action first. In Utah, the forms address the issue of visitation with the biological father/Respondent in a protective order. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still get a bona fide, For Real Custody Order in place through a Paternity action…you should. For SURE.

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