Unlike married parents, unmarried parents encounter a different set of problems regarding child custody and related issues. While the law presumes the husband to be the biological father of a child born to a married couple, the situation is different for unmarried parents. Accordingly, there may arise a need to establish paternity. In Arizona, establishing paternity is the legal process of determining a child’s biological father.
When a man and a woman who are not married (they might be married to other people) have a child, there are likely to be paternity disputes. Some of these disputes may even arise years after the child’s birth. While a woman can seek to establish paternity to enforce a man’s child support obligations, most cases involve men seeking custody or regular and worthwhile contact with their child.
With paternity disputes often proving detrimental to parties involved, including the child, it is critical to seek legal guidance on how to peacefully establish paternity. If you are an unmarried parent in Tucson, AZ, seeking custody of your child or need to enforce visitation rights, we are here for you. Our skilled and experienced Arizona paternity establishment attorneys at R.P.M. Law are committed to helping you assert your parental rights.
How Does Arizona Establish Paternity?
There are three ways of establishing paternity in Arizona, including:
- By presuming paternity. In Arizona, if the parents are married, paternity is presumed; otherwise, one or both parents must take action to establish paternity.
- Through voluntary acknowledgment. In this case, the unmarried parents agree on paternity and sign a statement acknowledging the same. They then file the paternity acknowledgment form with the court, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Economic Security.
- Through a court order. This occurs when unmarried parents fail to agree on paternity and either one of them or another interested party, including a same-sex spouse, files a paternity lawsuit to establish the legal father of a child. The court can enter a default judgment if the other party, especially the alleged father, fails to respond or comply with court orders on DNA genetic testing.
Typically, a man has to acknowledge paternity voluntarily, or the court has to legally prove that he is a child’s biological father for him to assert parental rights over the child. Besides a father seeking to assert his parental rights, a mother may also seek to establish paternity to have someone to share the responsibilities of raising a child, including legal decision-making, child support, and custody.
Contact Arizona Paternity Establishment Lawyer
Even after establishing paternity, there is a need to establish paternity rights, including child support, custody, and visitation rights. The unmarried parents need to work out the details of their shared parenthood. Whether you are a father seeking to enforce your parental rights or a mother seeking child support, paternity establishment is primarily a legal process hence the need to seek the help of an experienced family lawyer.
A lawyer will help you navigate the often complex process, including helping you file or respond to a court petition while avoiding a default judgment. A skilled lawyer will also help you negotiate a fair parenting plan with the other party. If you are in Arizona, we are here for you. Our skilled and experienced Arizona paternity establishment attorneys at R.P.M. Law will help you through paternity establishment and the subsequent process of establishing parental rights. Contact us for a free consultation and to learn more about our services.
- Arizona Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) provides services to any person who needs assistance in establishing paternity. – Resource
- DCSS information about establishing paternity through DCSS