Utah Supreme Court rules in paternity cases, opening a window for ‘alleged fathers’

Graphic: Fox 13

By Ben Winslow  |  Fox 13

In a series of rulings made public Saturday, the state’s top court has opened a window for “alleged fathers” to establish paternity in the face of Utah’s notoriously tough laws.

The Utah Supreme Court issued rulings in four separate cases, and almost all of them allowed men seeking to establish paternity the ability to go to court to litigate it.

The men were challenging aspects of Utah’s Uniform Parentage Act, which presumes that when a child is born, a mother’s current husband is the child’s father. In some cases, lower courts have rejected paternity claims because the mother is married to the husband.

“The initial question before us is whether the UUPA grants standing to biological fathers—termed ‘alleged fathers’ in the statute—when another man is legally presumed to be the child’s father,” Justice Paige Petersen wrote.

The justices unanimously did not consider a constitutional challenge to the law but agreed that the “alleged fathers” should have the ability to seek to establish paternity in the court system.

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