Find out How Does a Father Establish Paternity if Unmarried?
In Arizona, there is a presumption of paternity in the case of a married couple. If two people are not married, however, the man may have to go through a process that will be required to legally establish the paternity.
Unmarried men have certain rights established and protected by law in Arizona. Even if the mother disputes the paternity, there are still things to do.
Basic Paternity Establishment Procedure
Unmarried fathers can petition an Arizona court to establish child paternity.
This is possible whether the mother is willing to cooperate in the process or not.
Court petitions are possible both during the pregnancy of a partner and after a child has been born. There’s a statute of limitation – a court paternity petition has to be filed in Arizona before the child turns 18 whenever child support issues are being addresses. Otherwise, there’s no timeframe for moving forward with court petitions for paternity establishment.
Once the paternity has been established, a father will get legal rights over the child. It may also be possible to get the child’s birth certificate modified.
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How Does the Court Establish Paternity?
Paternity by presumption can be established even in the case of people who are not married. For this method of paternity establishment to work, a positive DNA test will be required. Paternity by presumption is also enforced whenever both the mother and the father sign the birth certificate of the child.
Paternity can be established later on through voluntary acknowledgment. In this case, both parents will need to sign a legally-binding document in which both the mother and the father acknowledge the fact that the child is biologically theirs. The procedure is outlined in detail in A.R.S. 25-812.
The fact that the signing of the document is truly voluntary will need to be established before the procedure goes through in court.
The final option unmarried men in Arizona could turn to is paternity establishment through a court order (the one that has briefly been described above).
A court will use evidence and witness testimonies to address the situation. Most often, a DNA test will be ordered by the court to establish beyond doubt the biological link between father and child.
If the paternity is established, the two parties involved can move forward with the creation of a parenting plan. Child support issues will also have to be addressed. Retroactive and current child support can both be ordered by the court upon the completion of the paternity proceedings.
Contested Paternity Rights
It is usually in the best interest of the child to know both parents and to have relationships with them. In some instances, however, mothers will refuse cooperating or they’ll contest the paternity rights of their former partners.
Contested paternity proceedings can be complicated.
If you want to establish paternity but you’re facing serious opposition from an ex, you should get in touch with an Arizona family law attorney. An experienced lawyer will give you an overview of your rights and the process you’ll have to go through to be granted paternity legally.
The simplest way to address a contested paternity situation is to have a court-ordered DNA test. The mother doesn’t have to agree to this procedure for the court to move forward with it.
DNA tests are incredibly reliable. Both courts and government agencies rely on them. If a man claims he is the father of the child and the mother denies the claim, she will usually be ordered to cooperate so that a DNA test can take place.
Only the father and the child have to be tested for paternity to be established. If a mother refuses to allow testing, chances are that the court will presume paternity unless facts disprove such a possibility. If a person who claims to be the father lived abroad and did not enter the US at the time of conception, for example, there will be evidence against the man’s claims.