Thursday, August 8, 2013

3 Ways for Unwed Biological Father to Establish Paternity

In Re: R.M., L.M. v. J.B and A.B., 2013 UT App 27, Utah Court of Appeals, January 31, 2013

L.M. is the biological Father of R.M. He filed a voluntary declaration of paternity signed by Mother with the State Office of Vital Statistics.  Mother married J.B. and J.B. filed a Petition for adoption. The adoption was granted.  Father motion to set aside the Decree of Adoption was granted because Father was not provided notice.  The trial court later found that Father’s filing of a declaration of paternity was insufficient to establish his right to without consent to the adoption.  Trial Court allowed the interlocutory appeal.

The Court of Appeals found that simply because a party may fall into more than one category in U.C.A. 78B-6-120(1), does not mean that the person must follow all the requirements of each category he falls.  (e.g. An unwed biological father does not have to file a declaration of paternity and also strictly comply with U.C.A. §78B-6-121(1)(d)-(f)).

The Court found that there are three ways for an unwed biological father to establish paternity and be entitled to consent to adoption: (1) File a voluntary declaration (2) be adjudicated as the child’s father, or (3) strictly comply with U.C.A. §78B-6-121(1)(d)-(f).

The Court made a special note that since

In this case, Father filed a declaration of paternity and is entitled to withhold consent.  Reversed and Remanded.

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