Are My Fathers Rights Protected Before Paying Child Support

by Jamie Flade
(West Jordan, Utah, Salt Lake County)

I am a married man and have been for 10 years. In 2008 my wife and I were on the verge of a divorce. We had called it quits and sadly I had a short relationship with someone in Colorado. I am now in Utah. The result of this, was the woman I was with fathered a child which she says is mine. Luckily my wife and I have resolved our differences and are still together. I know that the first thing I need to do is establish paternity of this child. What is the best way to do that considering that I am 600 miles away? Also, I don't want to be just a paycheck to this child. I want to have a real relationship with the child. I truly think in the best interest of the child does not always equate to financial help but I am afraid that this is headed that way. The mother of said child lost her job, she worked for the same company I do, and has not been able to find steady work in these difficult economic times. I am also concerned that I am going to be held to a different standard then other men she has had in her life. She has a 10 year old daughter who has never known her father and whom the mother; last I was told does not even have legal custody of. I believe her parents are the legal guardians.


The mother has never requested child support from her first child's father because she "doesn’t want his money" as she has stated. I need to know what steps I need to take to make sure that this isn’t all about the money, but that I have the opportunity to have a real relationship with this child if he truly is mine. I have never nor will I ever shun a responsibility but at the same time I cannot allow myself to be bullied or railroaded. I believe the best course of action would be that the mother and I use a court appointed moderator so we can create a parenting plan that includes both of us but because of her financial situation she plans on going directly to the courts for child support. What can I do? I don’t even know where to begin. All I know is that I am worth more if I am the father if I am involved. I have a child with my wife, so I know what children need. If the best interest of the child is truly what the courts have in mind than the courts and I are on the same page. Please help!

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Get Paternity Test
by: Child Support America Team Member

Jamie,

We commend you on wanting to step up and take care of the child if the paternity proves in your favor. So we recommend that this is the first step that you should take.

It's going to take some legwork on your part due to the distance, but it must be done to prove you are the birth father.

For starters you can go to the local child support website for the county that your child resides. Find out if they have a DNA or paternity service. Some child support enforcement agencies have this service available.

After paternity is established you will need to file a motion with the courts to request some sort of court ordered parenting time or visitation. Without this court order, you really don't have any legal rights to the child. Even if you and the mother agree, go to court and get it finalized.

Again, we are glad that you want to have a real relationship with your child and not simply pay child support. You and your child will be better for it. By the way, how old is the child? You can respond via this post.

Thanks,
CSA STAFF

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