ESTABLISHMENT OF PATERNITY
Categories Requiring Judicial Disestablishment
Several situations require judicial action to attempt to disestablish paternity and terminate the child support obligation.
1. Paternity was adjudicated by a judicial order;
2. The “Affidavit for Voluntary Declaration of Paternity by Parents” (VDP) is contested more than 60 days after signing;
3. A declarant father (or mother) contests a VDP after a support order (judicial or administrative) has been issued;
4. An administrative paternity order has been registered in a judicial court for modification or enforcement.
5. Either party contests the disestablishment of paternity on an administratively adjudicated paternity order.
In these situations, the father or mother must contest the paternity through the court that issued the order, or in the case of example #5 above, the court to which a party would seek de novo review of an administrative order.
Exception 1: A judicially adjudicated father may challenge a default paternity order within a three-month period after the default order was issued. During this period the AGO may decide to proceed with genetic tests. CSS will pay for the costs of the genetic tests.
Exception 2: In a case in which it has been more than three months since the default paternity order was issued, if the father or mother provides privately-obtained genetic tests that include the required chain of custody documentation, provide a copy of the test results to both parents with the “Paternity: Genetic Test Exclusion, Judicially Adjudicated Father” letters. If both parents provide written consent for CSS to file a judicial action to challenge the previously established paternity, you may refer the case to the AGO for review. The AGO will review the circumstances on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with statute governing challenges to adjudicated paternity found in UCA 78B-15 to determine if CSS will file the action for the parties or if the parties must file the action on their own. If the judicial paternity order was not a default order, do not pursue consent from the parties and do not refer the case to the AGO to file a judicial action to challenge the previously established paternity. If the parties wish to challenge the order they will need to do so on their own.
Judicially Adjudicated Paternity or Judicial Support Order, Parents Contest Paternity – Procedures
If a judicially adjudicated father or mother is challenging the paternity issue in court, the post-order worker will refer the case to the AGO to represent CSS in the proceeding. The AGO referral should include the arrears time period and amounts for the case. Continue to charge current support and continue all normal enforcement activities during this process.
If a parent or the court requests genetic tests as part of a judicial proceeding, the AGO will not object to genetic tests if testing was not completed prior to the order. The AGO will request payment for the tests prior to CSS scheduling the genetic test appointment. The AGO will coordinate genetic test scheduling with the pre-order team located in the same office as the AGO working the case.
1. Genetic testing to be prepaid: The pre-order agent will take the steps listed below.
a. Code ORSIS to process the genetic test payment.
b. Send the “Notice for Adjudicated Father Cases: Prepay Genetic Test Costs” only if directed by the AGO to the party or parties responsible for the costs as determined by the court to inform them of the amount due.
c. Once the payment is received, schedule the genetic tests and coordinate with the AGO to notify the parties.
d. If the parties fail to participate in genetic tests ordered as part of a judicial proceeding, notify the AGO. The court may choose to compel the parties’ cooperation through judicial remedies.
e. When the test results are received, refer the results to the AGO to notify the parties.
2. Genetic testing not to be prepaid: If the court orders CSS to conduct genetic testing but will not order the parties to prepay the costs, the pre-order agent will take the steps listed below.
a. Follow the court order and schedule the tests.
b. When received, refer the test results to the AGO to notify the parties.
c. Notify the AGO of the cost of the tests and request that the AGO pursue a provision to reimburse the genetic test costs as part of any final order.
If the court determines that a judicially adjudicated father is not the biological father, the previous “legal” father’s attorney should prepare an amendment to the order to reflect the finding of non-paternity and termination of the support obligation. The amendment should not be retroactive. The amendment should be prospective only.
Judicial Order Terminates the Support Obligation, Procedures
If the court terminates the support obligation, the post-order agent will take the following steps when the judicial order becomes final.
1. End the current support obligation on ORSIS as of the date that the order disestablishing paternity is effective.
2. Do not refund any money or remove any unpaid arrears debts. In accordance with UCA 78B-15-9.3(3)(c), child support orders are not subject to retroactive modification or amendment. All unpaid arrearages are still owed unless the court order specifically relieves the individual from paying the arrearages. Use regular collection methods to collect all past-due support.
1. Update the paternity establishment information on ORSIS.
2. Coordinate with the intake team for a new case to be opened to pursue paternity establishment on the next consort(s).
NOTE: If the child was born in Utah, the Presiding Officer (PO) must send the “Notice of Adjudication of Paternity,” a copy of the Birth Look-up screen and a copy of the order disestablishing paternity to the docket unit for forwarding to the Department of Health, Office of Vital Records and Statistics (OVRS) once the order is received and ORSIS has been updated.