Legally speaking, the State of Arizona presumes that when a child is born to a married couple, the husband is the father. Arizona has a series of well-established paternity laws for the benefit of children born outside of marriage. When paternity (biological fatherhood) is in question, determining who the father is can help the child receive needed support. Concomitantly, a father that wants a relationship with his child will want to prove paternity to have the legal right to do so.
When Unwed Parents Agree
It could be as easy as a conversation and a signature. When both parents agree that the putative father is the biological father, no DNA testing is necessary. At the birth of the child, the parents sign what is called a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity and it is done.
When One Spouse Does Not Cooperate
When the father is known, but the couple does not agree to sign the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, either person can submit something called a Petition To Establish Paternity in Superior Court, requesting a DNA test. The DNA test will need to be at least 95% positive in order for it to be submitted as legal proof of paternity. Once the DNA evidence is presented, if there is no rebuttal, the courts will enter something called an Order of Paternity.
Paternity Is Established, Now What?
Once paternity has been established, the father may now have the legal right to have a relationship with his child as well as the requisite responsibilities that go with it. The courts will take paternity into consideration when deciding the award of:
- Decision making authority
- Parenting time
- Child support
The birth certificate of the child will be amended to reflect the legal father’s name as well.
Uniquely Experienced Arizona Family Law Attorney
At the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack, we handle all aspects of family law cases including divorce mediation, child custody, child support and alimony. Attorney Ronald Kossack and the entire staff at the firm will do all that they can to ensure that your emotional needs are met, while they work toward a positive resolution in your case. Schedule your free initial consultation to discuss your story with an experienced Arizona lawyer. Contact us online, or simply give us a call anytime at 480-345-2652.