Uniform Parentage Act

The Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) is considered the modern trend of state laws regarding the parent-child relationship. The UPA was first approved by the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) in 1973, and revised several times. By December, 2000, 19 states enacted the UPA and many other states have enacted significant portions of it, especially since the Supreme Court had struck down various state statutes, in a series of rulings, of custody, inheritance, and tort laws that gave preferential treatment to children born within a traditional family.

The most significant objective of the UPA is the equal treatment of marital and non-marital children, including children born out of wedlock, adopted children, and children conceived with modern reproductive technologies. It also adopted certain presumptions of parentage, especially in regard to paternity.

The UPA consists of 8 main articles:

  1. Definitions, including definitions of the participants as well as new developments in assisted reproduction.
  2. Parent-Child Relationship, including what establishes the parent-child relationship, the consequences of parentage, and the presumption of paternity.
  3. Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, which simplifies the process of establishing paternity for fathers who are not married to the mother of the child.
  4. Registry of Paternity, to register the rights of a man who is neither a presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated father to expedite adoptions.
  5. Genetic Testing, including requirements for genetic testing, rebuttal of testing results, and the report and confidentiality of genetic testing.
  6. Proceedings to Adjudicate Parentage, which establishes procedures for adjudicating parentage and challenging acknowledgements, presumptions, and judgments of parentage.
  7. Child of Assisted Reproduction, which extends the concept of parentage to those born with assisted reproductive technologies, including the parental status of the donor, the paternity of the child, the consent required and its effect when withdrawn, and the parental status of deceased individuals whose gametes were used to conceive the child.
  8. Gestation Agreement, which includes the validation and requirements of a gestational agreement, and its effect in establishing parentage.