A father’s filing to record his paternity of an unborn child just got fairer, say Utah family law attorneys. The Utah Supreme Court released an opinion that a father files notice of paternity when the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics actually received the notice, not when the office filed it. If you are a father needing to establish your paternity in Utah, contact a Salt Lake City law firm for help filing.
The Utah Supreme Court came out with the filing clarification after a trial judge found that Ramsey Shaud acted too late to stop the adoption of his daughter.
When Shaud learned that the woman he had a relationship with was pregnant and that she wanted to put the child up for adoption, he tried to file to protect his parental rights before the baby, due in February 2010, was born.
Shaud filed for paternity in Florida where they both lived, but after finding out the mother was going to visit Arizona and Utah for the holidays he tried to file in those states as well. He filed in Arizona, but had trouble with Utah and hired a Utah family law attorney to help him.
With the attorney’s help, Shaud filed the required Utah paternity petition in court on January 12, 2010 and faxed a copy to the Vital Records office. Because of the then four-day workweek and a Monday holiday, the petition was not recorded at the Vital Records office until January 20, 2010.
However, during that time, the mother had the baby prematurely on January 15, 2010 and relinquished her parental rights allowing the baby to be placed with adoptive parents.
The Utah Supreme Court heard oral argument on the case in September 2011 and recently released its decision stating that under Utah’s adoption laws the “definition of ‘filed’ creates unfair uncertainty as to the proper filing date and infringes upon Mr. Shaud’s opportunity interest in protecting his relationship with his daughter.”
The case will now go back to the district court for a determination as to whether the Vital Records office received Shaud’s notice prior to the birth mother’s consent to the adoption.
If you need help filing to protect your paternity or with any other adoption matters, contact Utah family law attorneys at a Salt Lake City law firm for help with the process. Our attorneys always offer free consultations and often times can schedule an appointment within 24 hours.