An Overview of the Establishing Paternity in Arizona

establishing paternity in arizonaIn some situations, establishing paternity is an easy task. If you’re in a marriage and a child is born, you’re presumed to be the father of that child. In other cases, however, paternity establishment isn’t as clear-cut.

Luckily, Arizona has a very specific paternity establishment legislative framework. It addresses most common scenarios and suggests provisions that protect the rights of fathers in the state.

Establishing Paternity When Parents Aren’t Married

This is one of the most common scenarios in Arizona since people who are not married do not benefit from automatic paternity like in the case of a civil union.

There are a couple of ways in which paternity can be established.

When the child is born, the father can sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity form at the hospital. Once the document is signed, the healthcare professionals at that medical facility will cooperate with the couple to undertake the necessary steps and legally establish the paternity right from the birth of the baby.

If two parents decide to undertake such measures later on, they can visit an Arizona Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) office and sign an affidavit through which voluntary paternity will be established.

These are the easier scenarios but if one of the parents is uncooperative in the establishment of paternity, a different procedure will have to be employed.

Either parent can open an establishment of paternity case with the Arizona DCSS. Depending on the specifics of the situation, the case can be referred for a court hearing. In that instance, it will be up to the court to determine how the paternity is going to be established. The court could order a paternity test to establish the paternity.

Usually, such legal procedures are initiated by individuals seeking child support or those who are being refused the chance to be in contact with their child.

Other Important Legal Considerations

Once paternity has been established in Arizona, it will be recognized in all other states.

It’s also important to point out which individuals can request paternity DNA testing from a court in Arizona. The biological mother and the person who considers themselves the biological father of the child are the only two individuals that can trigger such a procedure.

Grandparents aren’t entitled with such rights, unfortunately. Relatives are not considered parties in a legal paternity action, hence, they cannot approach the court.

DNA tests are very reliable and accurate. They can establish paternity with accuracy of 99.9 percent. Excluding someone as the father of a child through DNA testing is 100 percent accurate.

Father’s Rights in Arizona

Once paternity has been established, a father will get certain rights as well as important parental obligations.

Regardless of the fact if a couple is married or not, a man who is the father of a child has the right to legal custody and/or parenting time. That very same man could also be asked to provide child support and this consideration will be made after evaluating the incomes of both parents.

If paternity has not been established and adoption proceedings are to be initiated for the child, he will have to be notified within 30 days. Once this happens, the alleged biological father is entitled to triggering the paternity procedure, establishing their fatherhood and stopping the adoption from moving forward.

Finally, there’s one more scenario we need to address. What happens when a man is listed as the father of a child on a birth certificate but he finds out that he isn’t the biological parent later on?

In such instances, a man has the right to request the birth certificate to be amended by the court and to have his name removed from it.

Whether this is the right move will depend on the specifics of the story and on the individual’s relationship with the child and the mother.

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