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How Paternity Works for Unwed Fathers in Arizona

June 2, 2021

Est. Reading: 2 minutes

When a married couple has a child together, the wife’s husband is assumed to be the biological father of the child. This applies even when the couple was unmarried when the child was conceived. So, the simplest method of establishing paternity is through marriage to your child’s mother. As the number of unmarried parents continues to climb, it’s worthwhile to know how an unmarried father can get paternity rights. Unmarried fathers in Arizona should keep reading for more on the legal process of establishing paternity.  

Acknowledgment of Paternity

If you and the mother of your child agree on your paternity, then legally establishing paternity can be fairly simple. All you need to do is sign (and have your partner sign) the voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity document, have it notarized, and register it with the appropriate court or state agency. If you and your child’s mother sign this form at the hospital, nurses or birth recorders will probably be able to help you register the form. 

If You and Your Child’s Mother Don’t Agree on Paternity

In any situation where an unmarried mother or father does not agree on paternity, you might wonder what the point of spending time and money on establishing paternity is. If the relationship between the mother and father is good, why risk souring the relationship with a legal process?

The short answer is that neither parent can guarantee that things will always be amicable. If the father has a falling out with the mother, the mother is allowed to withhold the child from the father. Conversely, the mother may not receive a court order for child support unless paternity for the child has been established. 

an image of a father reading to his daughter

You will have to start a paternity lawsuit in court if you want child support and custody established at the same time as paternity. Many fathers, mothers, and guardians choose this route for that reason. The court will hear testimony from both sides and likely order DNA testing. The DNA testing will generally be accepted as proof if there is at least a 95 percent likelihood of the putative (alleged) father’s paternity. 

Other Reasons for Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity can accomplish more than child custody or child support. Having a legal father means a child might be able to take advantage of the father’s health insurance or certain government benefits (like Social Security). Another reason is that children have been shown to benefit from the involvement of both parents. That does not apply to situations where one parent is abusive, addicted to illicit substances, or generally unfit. 

Get Help From an Understanding Arizona Law Firm

Monahan Law Firm is proud to stand with Arizona parents who simply want to establish their legal rights as they pertain to their children. We know that family law disputes can be incredibly emotional. Our team will strive to make these issues as stress-free as possible while working tirelessly to achieve your goals. If you think we can help you, give a Glendale paternity lawyer a call at (623) 385-3190 to discuss your options.

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Attorney Patrick Monahan

Patrick Monahan

Patrick Monahan is the managing partner of Monahan Law Firm, PLC. Patrick began his legal career practicing real estate, construction, and general business litigation.
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