In a private paternity case, which is also called a parentage case in Utah, the statute of limitations on past due support is four years.
Utah Code Section78B-15-109. Limitation on recovery from the obligor.
The obligor’s liabilities for past support are limited to the period of four years preceding the commencement of an action.
This prevents unlimited liability and unfair surprise where a biological father was never on notice that a child was born to him. On the other hand, it allows for collection of up to a four year period of arrears, which protects the interests of the mother and child. So it probably strikes a reasonable balance, in my view.
Utah law does not allow parent-time and child support to be tied together in the sense that one parent’s denying visitation does not justify the other parent’s withholding child support. On the other hand, one parent’s failure to pay child support does not justify the other parent’s withholding parent-time. This is no doubt a wise provision as well, because the child’s best interests are always paramount in family law.
The frustrating thing is where the father is not allowed to be a part of the child’s life and therefore needs to file a paternity case in order to secure his rights. He still must pay support. The best thing for a father to do in this situation is to proffer support each month, keeping a paper trail of all support paid, and file a paternity case immediately. He has a right to be an important part of the child’s life.
This material should not be construed as legal advice for any particular fact situation, but is intended for general informational purposes only. For advice specific to any individual situation, an experienced attorney should be contacted.
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