The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Vermont

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15C, §§ 102; 401

The terms used in this title are defined as follows:

  • 'Acknowledged parent' means a person who has established a parent-child relationship.
  • 'Adjudicated parent' means a person who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be a parent of a child.
  • 'Alleged genetic parent' means a person who is alleged to be or alleges that the person is a genetic parent or possible genetic parent of a child whose parentage has not been adjudicated. The term includes an alleged genetic father and alleged genetic mother.
  • 'Parent' means a person who has established parentage that meets the requirements of this title.
  • 'Parentage' means the legal relationship between a child and a parent as established under this title.

A person is presumed to be a parent of a child if any of the following apply:

  • The person and the person who gave birth to the child are married to each other and the child is born during the marriage.
  • The person and the person who gave birth to the child were married to each other and the child is born no later than 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, divorce, or dissolution.
  • The person and the person who gave birth to the child married each other after the birth of the child and the person at any time asserted parentage of the child and the person agreed to be and is named as a parent of the child on the child's birth certificate.
  • The person resided in the same household with the child for the first 2 years of the child's life, including periods of temporary absence, and the person and another parent of the child openly held out the child as the person's child.

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15C, §§ 301; 305

The following persons may sign an acknowledgment of parentage to establish parentage of a child:

  • A person who gave birth to the child
  • A person who is the alleged genetic parent of the child
  • A presumed parent

The acknowledgment shall be signed by both the person who gave birth to the child and by the person seeking to establish a parent-child relationship and shall be witnessed and signed by at least one other person.

A valid acknowledgment of parentage filed with the Department of Health is equivalent to an adjudication of parentage of a child and confers upon the acknowledged parent all the rights and duties of a parent. Judicial or administrative ratification is neither permitted nor required for an unrescinded or unchallenged acknowledgment of parentage.

A valid denial of parentage with the department in conjunction with a valid acknowledgment of parentage is equivalent to an adjudication of the nonparentage of the presumed parent or alleged genetic parent and discharges the presumed parent or alleged genetic parent from all rights and duties of a parent.

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15C, §§ 201; 501; 603; 604

A person may establish parentage by any of the following:

  • Giving birth to the child
  • An effective voluntary acknowledgment of parentage
  • An adjudication based on an admission of parentage
  • An unrebutted presumption of parentage
  • An adjudication of de facto parentage
  • An adjudication of genetic parentage

In a proceeding to adjudicate the parentage of a person who claims to be a de facto parent of the child, if there is only one other person who is a parent or has a claim to parentage of the child, the court shall adjudicate the person who claims to be a de facto parent to be a parent of the child if the person demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence the following:

  • The person resided with the child as a regular member of the child's household for a significant period of time.
  • The person engaged in consistent caregiving of the child.
  • The person undertook full and permanent responsibilities of a parent of the child without expectation of financial compensation.
  • The person held out the child as the person's child.
  • The person established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child that is parental in nature.
  • The person and another parent of the child fostered or supported the bonded and dependent relationship.
  • Continuing the relationship between the person and the child is in the best interests of the child.

The court may order a child and other persons to submit to genetic testing. A person shall be identified as a genetic parent of a child if the genetic testing of the person complies with this chapter and the results of testing disclose that the individual has at least a 99-percent probability of parentage as determined by the testing laboratory.

Required Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15C, § 310

The Department of Health shall develop a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage form for execution of parentage. The acknowledgment of parentage form shall provide notice of the alternatives to, the legal consequences of, and the rights and responsibilities that arise from signing the acknowledgment and shall state the following:

  • There is no other presumed parent of the child or, if there is another presumed parent, shall state that parent's full name.
  • There is no other acknowledged parent or adjudicated parent other than the person who gave birth to the child.
  • The signatories understand that the acknowledgment is the equivalent of a court determination of parentage of the child and that a challenge to the acknowledgment is permitted only under limited circumstances.

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15C, §§ 307; 308

A person may rescind an acknowledgment of parentage by any of the following methods:

  • Filing a rescission with the department within 60 days after the effective date of the acknowledgment or denial
  • Commencing a court proceeding within 60 days after the effective date of the acknowledgment
  • Challenging the acknowledgment within the earlier of 60 days after the effect date of the acknowledgment or within 60 days after the date of the first court hearing in a proceeding in which the signatory is a party to adjudicate an issue relating to the child, including a proceeding seeking child support

If an acknowledgment or denial of parentage is rescinded under this section, any associated acknowledgment or denial of parentage becomes invalid, and the department shall notify the person who gave birth to the child and any person who signed an acknowledgment or denial of parentage of the child that the acknowledgment or denial of parentage has been rescinded.

After the period for rescission has expired, a signatory of an acknowledgment of parentage or denial of parentage may commence a proceeding to challenge the acknowledgment or denial based only on fraud, duress, coercion, threat of harm, or material mistake of fact and within 2 years after the acknowledgment or denial is effective.

Access to Information

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15C, § 311

The Department of Health shall provide the completed following forms only to the parties who signed the document, the Office of Child Support, and the Family Services Division of the Department of Children and Families:

  • Acknowledgment of parentage
  • Voluntary acknowledgment of parentage
  • Denial of parentage
  • Rescissions of these documents

The department shall release the forms to the Office of Child Support only upon request and the office may use the forms for the sole purpose of initiating a parentage or support proceeding on behalf of a dependent child.

The department shall release the forms to the Family Services Division only upon request and the division may use the forms for the sole purpose of addressing parentage or support proceedings relating to a child who is in the care of the division.