The Nitty-Gritty of Paternity Establishment in Arizona
Family laws in the U.S. differ from state to state, and so paternity laws in Arizona apply within the state. Establishing paternity is simply the legal process of identifying who the father of a child is. In this age where co-parenting is becoming normal, it becomes necessary for unmarried parents to assert parental rights to afford benefits to children and enforce parental responsibility between parents. A man can only be responsible for a child when he is confirmed to be the father of that child.
How to Establish Paternity in Arizona
There are three main ways to establish paternity based on Arizona paternity laws.
- By Presumption
- By Voluntary Acknowledgement
- By Court Order
Let’s take a closer look at the above methods of paternity establishment in Arizona:
1. Paternity Establishment by Presumption
This is the most common method of establishing paternity in Arizona. Generally, it is presumed that a man is the child’s father if any of these four factors are in place:
- If both parents were married 10 months before the child was born, or if the child was born 10 months after the marriage ended by annulment, divorce, legal separation, or death.
- Both unmarried parents sign the child’s birth certificate.
- A paternity test comes out with a 95% affirmative result.
- Both unmarried parents have signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.
While these grounds may seem like clear evidence, they’re not always reliable. Higher courts can file for a rebuttal of these presumptions and re-establish the child’s paternity.
2. Paternity Establishment by Voluntary Acknowledgement
Another popular way to establish the child’s paternity is to have a notarized statement signed by both parties in the presence of witnesses. In this statement, both parents say that the child is theirs biologically, proving the father’s paternity. This statement is then filed in the court under DES (the Department of Economic Security) and the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). After this has been done, the father’s name will be filled into the child’s birth certificate. Before voluntarily signing this document, both parents need to know that this means equal parental rights and responsibilities to the child by acknowledging its paternity. You should conduct a DNA test to affirm the child’s paternity before committing to be bound by the document.
3. Paternity Establishment by Court Order
In a situation where there is a dispute or disagreement on who the child’s father is, a petition can be made with the clerk of the court to establish paternity. Going to the court to establish the paternity of a child is known as a paternity lawsuit. The parent filing this petition must do so during the pregnancy or any time before the child turns 18. This is necessary when one of the parents is seeking ‘custody’ of the child or child support. The primary way a court determines a child’s paternity is through a court hearing, and sometimes, the court may require a DNA test.
Arizona Family Lawyers Can Help
Are you looking to make a petition to the court to establish the paternity of your child? Then you need all the legal help you can get. Stewart Law Group has a team of legal attorneys with a wealth of experience in cases like this. Contact us for a free consultation today!