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Ways to Establish Paternity in Arizona

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3 ways to establish paternity under Arizona law include:

  • Presumption of paternity
  • By voluntary acknowledging paternity, or
  • By decreeing paternity in court.

Establishing Paternity By Presumption of Paternity

In Arizona law, there are 4 easy presumptions of paternity. Commonly, a man is assumed to be the father of the child if:

  1. He was married to the mother throughout the 10 months right before the birth of the child. Or the child was born inside of 10 months after their marriage was dissolved by legal separation, divorce annulment, or death.
  2. Genetic testing confirms paternity by a 95% or more likeliness.
  3. They have both signed the birth certificate and are unmarried.
  4. They both sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity and are unmarried.

Those presumptions are groundless without concise and conclusive evidence, so they can be challenged. In addition, if a court decree proved another man’s fatherhood of the child, then the presumption of paternity is invalidated. A.R.S. § 25-814.

Establishing Paternity By Voluntary Acknowledging Paternity

Another way for parents that aren’t married to establish paternity is by acknowledging paternity in a recorded declaration that is either witnessed or recognized by a notary. A.R.S. § 25-812. The document determines paternity by acknowledging that both the mother and father are the child’s biological parents. The document is then is filed within the courts, the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and the Department of Economic Security (DES).

The signed document may be used to object to the marital belief that when the child was born, the father was the husband to his wife. When the mother was married, and her former husband or husband is believed to be the father of the child (as addressed above). If the document is filed by the biological father who was not married to the mother, then the former husband or husband can give written permission to the other man establishing of paternity of the child.

Acknowledging paternity has to be truly voluntary. Prior to signing, both parties must be presented with a notice of their options and the legal impact of implementing the document. With the acknowledgment of paternity, both parents have the same constitutional parental rights and equal responsibilities to support their child.

Navigating Paternity: Understanding Legal Processes in Arizona

Parents can agree to a DNA test, but the lab must be certified. If the test shows 95% paternity, it’s legally valid.

Two options for establishing paternity: a signed document or lab confirmation. Both lead to a judge’s paternity order.

The court sends this order to DES and DHHS for child support compliance. Paternity is crucial, so a potential father should consider a DNA test before signing an acknowledgment, ensuring 95% or higher probability. If the mother disagrees or deception is suspected, consult a lawyer for court-ordered DNA testing and legal guidance.

Court Ordered Paternity Establishment

In Arizona, if parents are unmarried, a paternity lawsuit (A.R.S. § 25-806) determines the legal father through court litigation.

Anyone—father, mother, conservator, guardian, or the State of Arizona—can request paternity determination (A.R.S. § 25-803). It’s vital to file before the child turns 18 for parental responsibility.

Be cautious about default judgments. If the father doesn’t respond to the petition, the judge can order paternity and child support.

In cases where a DNA test is needed, the judge can declare paternity by default if the presumed father doesn’t participate (A.R.S. § 25-813). Retroactive and ongoing child support follow (A.R.S. § 25-809).

After establishing paternity, both parents can work together on a parenting plan that considers the child’s best interests.

Source:

“Paternity Establishment in Arizona.” Stewart Law Group, www.arizonalawgroup.com/child-custody/paternity-establishment/.

Can a Lawyer Help with Establishing Paternity?

If you encounter complexities in matters such as child support, child custody, or paternity, seeking advice from a lawyer is advisable. Navigating these issues on your own can be challenging. Consulting with a family law attorney like Moshier Law can provide you with a clearer understanding of your legal alternatives and offer assistance in establishing paternity or addressing any difficulties you may be facing.

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