Establishing Paternity in Arizona

Paternity means father or fatherhood. In Arizona, the father of a child is financially responsible for the child’s upbringing. Until the age of 18 or the child’s projected graduation from high school (whichever comes last) both parents have a financial responsibility to support the child.

Paternity is automatically established through marriage. At the time of a child’s birth, the child is determined by law to be the husband’s natural child.

Why is it important to establish paternity?

Establishing paternity in Arizona is important for many reasons. Not only does legal paternity help to provide financial stability for a child’s upbringing, it establishes rights to inheritance, and social security and life insurance benefits.

In addition to financial support, fathers who pay child support are also statistically more likely to be an active part of their child’s life, providing for emotional stability as well.

Should I seek legal paternity of my child?

For fathers, establishing paternity is also an important first step in obtaining rights as the father of your child. Paternal fathers have legal rights to a father-child relationship that may be granted when paternity is legally acknowledged.

How is paternity established when the mother is unwed?

Arizona law allows paternity to be established for children of unwed mothers in a number of ways: voluntary paternity, a paternity test (genetic testing), or a court decision.

How is voluntary paternity established?

Voluntary paternity is established when the father and mother sign an Affidavit of Paternity in front of a notary witness at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth. This document is a legal acknowledgement that the newborn is the natural child of the man who signs the affidavit.

How is paternity established after the child’s birth?

If the child’s paternity is not established at birth, it can be established through genetic testing of the man and child. If the genetic tests show at least a 95 percent probability that the man is the child’s father, the man’s paternity is legally recognized.

What if my child’s father refuses to take a paternity test?

If the alleged father of a child refuses to submit to a paternity test, the case will need to be heard in court. Given the evidence of the man’s paternity presented in court, such as his past and/or present relationship to the mother, statements made as to parentage, etc., the court will file a formal decision that may or may not establish legal paternity.

To discuss paternity and your individual situation with experienced family law attorneys, contact the Law Offices of Corso and Rhude for a consultation.

The Law Office of Corso & Rhude practices in the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Sun City, Ahwatukee, Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Tempe, and Tucson.

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