Brighton, MA asked in Adoption and Family Law for Utah

Q: Paternity Mess

I have a rather unusual problem. I live in Utah and am the disconnected part of a polyamorous triad wherein the other two partners happened to get married before they explored polyamory. They happily have a child together and we all have been happy for about five years. Now I am having a child with one of my partners, and because neither of us are the sole providers and for a host of other reasons, all three of us would like the husband to assume full paternal responsibility for the new child. Obviously we cannot lie on the birth certificate as it is a crime, but if I were to sign I am not sure if there would be a way to transfer my rights and relinquish my paternal rights. I am not in a place to properly raise the child and the complications with their marriage becomes tangled, but we for sure do not want to put the child up for adoption. Can you give us any advice? TLDR: Would like to transfer paternal rights in a consensual nonmonogamous triad

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mike Branum
Mike Branum
  • Family Law Lawyer
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Utah

A: You are correct that you should list yourself as the father on the birth certificate. You need to voluntarily relinquish your parental rights and allow the husband to adopt the child. You need to understand that this will forever extinguish any legal rights you would have with the child (although those with legal custody can certainly allow you to have a relationship with the child, they would just have no legal requirement to do so). The husband needs to understand that he would be assuming responsibility for the child until the child is an adult. If he and the other partner get a divorce, he would likely be ordered to pay child support for the adopted child irrespective of the lack of relation by blood.

I do not know that your problem is all that "unusual" (family law attorneys see a lot of situations most would find unusual, the unusual becomes routine), but there are certainly legal pitfalls that would be much easier to avoid with the assistance of legal counsel. I would encourage SOMEONE to hire an attorney. If the three of you can remain in solidarity about your wishes for the child, that will be sufficient. If your goals begin to diverge, a conflict will likely arise which would necessitate the involvement of one or two other attorneys or one or two of the parties would end up representing themselves. You also face the potential of the Court requiring the appointment of a guardian ad litem - an attorney to represent the interests of the child.

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