The Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) is a law governing cases involving the parentage of children, both for married and unmarried couples.  In particular, the Uniform Parenting Act focuses on the legal framework in the area of paternity law.  The Act sets up:

  • Processes for establishing paternity through the means of voluntary acknowledgement
  • Various standards for genetic paternity testing
  • Processes for determining paternity through the court system

The Uniform Parentage Act has undergone various revisions.  However, the most commonly cited version is the Uniform Parentage Act of 2002.

What is the Relationship Between the Uniform Parentage Act and Paternity?

One of the most significant changes under the Uniform Parentage Act of 2002 regards which persons may bring a paternity suit before a court.  In many states, only certain persons can file a paternity action in court.  However, in states that have adopted the 2002 UPA, any interested party is allowed to file a paternity complaint on a child’s behalf.

Also, the Act makes changes to the legal definition of “father”, which has been expanded to include:

  • The presumed father (the person married to the child’s mother at conception, or who had lived with the child during the child’s first two years)
  • A man acknowledging paternity
  • A man who was determined to be the child’s father during a previous paternity adjudication
  • Adoptive fathers
  • A man who has consented to assisted reproduction
  • A man who was determined to be the father through proceedings confirming gestational agreements

There are many other changes to paternity law that are brought about through the Uniform Parentage Act.  Many of these deal with advancements in technology such as assisted conception and genetic testing.

Which States Have Adopted the Uniform Parentage Act?

All states have adopted some form of the Uniform Parenting Act; however only a handful of states have adopted the 2002 version.  These states are:  DE, ND, OK, TX, WA, WY, and UT.  Some states may be in the process of revising their UPA statute or implementing changes to their statutes.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Questions About the Uniform Parentage Act and Paternity?

The Uniform Parentage Act of 2002 accomplishes several important changes in the area of paternity and parenting laws.  However, paternity laws can still be very different from region to region.  The outcome of any paternity hearing will depend on each individual case.  If you have any questions or need assistance regarding the UPA and paternity, you should contact an experienced family lawyer immediately.  Your attorney can provide you with advice and can represent you in court during a paternity lawsuit.