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!