ESTABLISHMENT OF PATERNITY
The Uniform Parentage Act, enacted by
Occasionally, the mother will name more than one potential father/consort for a child. When more than one potential father/consort is named, it is possible for each father to fall into a different category of parent-child relationship. When more than one potential consort is named, you must evaluate each potential consort/father to determine which category applies. The applicable category determines if further actions are necessary to legally establish paternity and the actions available to establish a support order. The applicable category also determines what actions are available to the parents if they wish to challenge paternity establishment. The applicable category of each potential father/consort also determines how the case must be worked when more than one consort is named.
Because of the legal rights and obligations associated with some categories of legal parent-child relationships, ORS/CSS will pursue consorts for child support in multiple consort situations in the following order:
1. Adjudicated father;
2. Presumed father;
3. Declarant father;
4. Alleged father(s).
CSS liberally facilitates genetic testing for most parties in an effort to identify or confirm the biological paternity of one man who will be pursued for child support purposes; however, the AGO may be limited in presenting test results to the courts if judicial action is required to disestablish an existing legal parent-child relationship.
Multiple Consorts, Intake Procedures
When there are multiple consorts, the Intake Team will be responsible for obtaining a separate “Application for Services Packet” and a separate “Paternity Questionnaire” on each possible consort during the application process. The mother must cooperate by providing the real name of all possible consorts, and by providing complete and accurate information on each man.
The Intake Team will open one case on ORSIS for the child. This case will include all potential consorts for the child. If any man has been adjudicated as the father or has signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity, he will be listed on the case. If there is a presumed father, he will be listed on the case. Alleged fathers are listed with one man as the “primary” alleged father and the other man (or men) as secondary alleged fathers. However, all possible alleged fathers have equal status on a multiple consort case and will be pursued equally until such time that they may be excluded by genetic testing.
NOTE: ORSIS will only allow more than one obligor father or alleged father as an active participant on a case when there is only one child on the case. In cases in which there is more than one child from the same pregnancy (e.g., twins), you will need to activate and inactivate the multiple consort participants on the case as you proceed through the testing and exclusion process. If there are multiple consorts and multiple pregnancies, open separate cases for each child while paternity is being established.
After the Intake team has attempted to verify the name and location of each man, the case will be referred to the appropriate pre-order team based on Case Assignment and FAD rules.
NOTE: On a paternity case with multiple alleged consorts where at least one of the alleged consort resides out-of-state, all of the cases will be assigned based on the across state line indicator. If the primary obligor or primary alleged father as listed on the screen is out-of-state then all of the cases will be worked by the interstate team. The assigned worker will be determined by the obligee name. It would be best to test all consorts before initiating a two-state action, if possible.
Adjudicated Father as a Multiple Consort
Any order that adjudicates paternity creates a binding parent-child relationship until/unless it is amended, set aside, or terminated by a subsequent order.
Genetic Testing when the Adjudicated Father is a Multiple
Consort: Procedures found in Genetic
Testing After the Order allow
Support Order Establishment when the Adjudicated Father is a Multiple Consort: If paternity/support has been adjudicated in an order, do not proceed with any establishment actions against any other category of consort/father until the paternity issues in the existing order have been resolved.
Presumed Father as a Multiple Consort
Genetic Testing when the Presumed Father is a Multiple Consort: Prior to a support order, only a presumed father can request genetic testing through ORS/CSS if the presumption is due to the child being born during the marriage.
Establishment when the Presumed Father is a Multiple Consort: Because a presumed father has specific rights
EXAMPLE 1: No order exists between the mother and the presumed father. The named individuals include the mother, the child, the presumed father, and an alleged father. Serve the mother and presumed father with an administrative “Notice of Agency Action: Child Support” Because of the presumption of paternity, include arrears in the NACA as directed in Notice of Agency Action Preparation, “non-paternity cases” section. The presumed father contacts ORS and requests genetic tests because he does not believe that he is the biological father.
Scenario 1a: If the presumed father submits to testing and is excluded by the tests, provide both parties with a copy of the results. After the appropriate response period, issue an “Order: Genetic Test Exclusion” to adjudicate that the presumed father is not the father. Begin establishment procedures against the alleged father.
Scenario 1b: If the presumed father submits to testing and is not excluded, ask the mother and the presumed father to sign an administrative “Stipulation and Order: Child Support” . If the presumed father will not voluntarily sign a stipulation, proceed to take an “Order: Child Support”.
Scenario 1c: If neither the presumed father nor mother requests testing, or if either party fails to cooperate with the testing, ask the mother and the presumed father to sign an administrative “Stipulation and Order: Child Support”. If the parties will not voluntarily sign a stipulation, proceed to take an “Order: Child Support”.
NOTE: If the mother responds to the NAA and contests the paternity of the presumed father, dismiss the NAA and refer the case to the AGO. Do not facilitate genetic tests on a presumed father based on the mother’s request unless directed by the AGO.
EXAMPLE 2: A judicial order exists that addresses the marriage and divorce of the mother and the presumed father; however, it is silent regarding the child or is otherwise unclear if the presumed father was excluded. Refer the case to the AGO to name the child, establish paternity, and establish an appropriate child support award, or to modify the existing judicial order to state that the presumed father is not the father of the child. After the presumed father status has been adjudicated, proceed with the next consort as appropriate.
Declarant Father as a Multiple Consort
A Voluntary Declaration of Paternity creates a legally-established parent-child relationship between the declarant father and the child. UCA 78B-15-305(2) confirms this as follows:
“(2) When a
declaration of paternity is filed, it shall be recognized as a basis for a
child support order without any further requirement or proceeding regarding the
establishment of paternity.”
Only two of the other parent-child categories have a potential effect on a declarant father’s legal responsibility, even if the VDP has not been rescinded: adjudicated fathers and presumed fathers. Pursuant to UCA 78B-15-302(3):
declaration of paternity is void if it:
(a) states that another man is a presumed father, unless a denial of paternity signed or otherwise authenticated by the presumed father is filed with the Office of Vital Records in accordance with Section 78B-15-303;
(b) states that another man is a declarant or adjudicated father; or
(c) falsely denies the existence of a presumed, declarant, or adjudicated father of the child.”
If a presumed father exists, the VDP is not valid without his signature on the back of the form. If the presumed father was excluded by any other method listed in Paternity: Adjudicated, Presumed and Declarant Fathers (adjudication, genetic testing, or proof of absence at the time of conception), the VDP must still be signed by the presumed father to ensure that the VDP is valid.
If the Office of Vital Records and Statistics (OVRS) accepts a VDP that does not appear valid based on the lack of the presumed father’s signature, send the “Request for Presumed Father Information” letter to the mother and the declarant father to notify them that the presumed father issue has not been resolved. If neither parent provides information to resolve the presumed father issue (such as more accurate marriage/divorce dates or a copy of an order excluding the presumed father) refer the case to the AGO to obtain an order declaring that the VDP is “void.” Do not proceed with paternity establishment procedures against other consorts until the AGO obtains the order declaring the VDP “void.”
Genetic Testing when the Declarant Father is a Multiple Consort: Prior to a support order, if either the mother or the declarant father has requested or consented to genetic tests (and if it has not been more than four years since the VDP was filed with OVRS, the limit for challenging the VDP based on a material mistake of fact), facilitate the testing, if appropriate, based on Paternity Disestablishment, Rescission of the “Affidavit for Voluntary Declaration of Paternity by Parents.” Do not test any additional consorts while there is a valid declarant father.
Support Order Establishment when the Declarant Father is a Multiple Consort: Do not proceed with any support order establishment actions against any other type of father until the paternity issues in the VDP have been resolved either by signing the rescission section of the document within 60 days or by judicially challenging and rescinding the VDP with a court order.
Alleged Fathers as Multiple Consorts
Alleged fathers will not be pursued until all issues with adjudicated, presumed and declarant fathers have been resolved. All alleged fathers have equal status on a multiple consort case and will be pursued equally until such time that they may be excluded by genetic testing.
Genetic testing when there are multiple alleged father consorts: All alleged fathers can be pursued for genetic testing at the same time. UCA 78B-15-502 addresses testing more than one consort as follows:
“(3) If two or more men are subject to an order for genetic testing, the testing may be ordered concurrently or sequentially.”
Support Order Establishment when the Alleged Father is a Multiple Consort: If multiple consorts have been narrowed down to one possible biological father through genetic tests (either by inclusive test results against one party or by eliminating all other possibilities with exclusion results), you may establish a support order against the remaining consort using normal procedures. If some or all of the alleged fathers will not cooperate with genetic testing, refer the case to the AGO for judicial action. The AGO will determine whether it is feasible to compel cooperation with genetic tests through judicial action.
When you receive a case with multiple alleged father consorts, take the steps listed below.
1. Locate the address for each alleged father if needed and if possible. Refer to Locating a Non-custodial Parent.
2. Arrange for genetic testing by sending each located alleged father the “Genetic Test Appointment Letter to Alleged Father” by regular first class mail. Also send the “Genetic Test Appointment Letter to Mother and Child” to the mother. The purpose of the letters is to require the parties to submit to genetic testing and to notify the parties of the date, time and place genetic testing has been scheduled.
3. If an alleged father does not appear for the scheduled test, or does not respond to the letter, or will not cooperate with genetic testing, refer the case to the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) for judicial action.
If all but one of the alleged fathers are excluded and the remaining alleged father will not cooperate, proceed with the administrative process to establish a support order. Refer to Administrative Notice of Agency Action – Paternity and Child Support, and Notice of Agency Action Preparation.
If you receive conclusive genetic test results (at least a 99% probability of paternity and a combined paternity index of at least 100 pursuant to U.C.A. 78B-15-505) for one of the alleged fathers, dismiss the actions against the other consorts and proceed with the establishment process. See Administrative Notice of Agency Action - Paternity and Child Support for specific procedures for establishing paternity and a child support order against an alleged father.