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How to Determine Paternity

How to Determine Paternity

It’s important to know the ins and outs of the state laws when attempting to establish paternity. According to Arizona state law, establishing paternity means establishing a legal father for the child.

Establishing paternity in Arizona is of particular interest to parents who are not married. If you had a baby in Arizona and you were not married when you became pregnant and/or when the baby was born, you will need to establish paternity or, in other words, establish a legal father. This is a tough issue when not addressed and is particularly troublesome for couples that never marry, but have children together.

Why is it Important to Establish Paternity?

Establishing paternity can be very important for all involved: the mother, the father and the child. Unless the Court finds the biological father the “legal father,” the child has no claim in relation to receiving financial support. With no determination of a “legal father” the child will not be eligible to obtain benefits such as insurance or social security through his or her father. Equally disturbing is that the father has no legal custodial or parenting rights to the child unless he has established paternity and obtained an order providing him with parenting time.

This means that without establishing paternity and obtaining an order, the father will have no right to participate in important decisions regarding the child’s schooling, medical treatment, etc. (custodial rights) and not right to time spent with their child (parenting time).

How Do I Determine Paternity?

There are a number of ways to establish paternity in Arizona:

  • Voluntary establishment of paternity through the Court.
  • Determination by the Court after a Court case filing.
  • Signing an acknowledgement of paternity at the hospital.

All of the above procedures will produce the same result: the biological father becomes the legal father of the child. After paternity has been determined, the child’s birth certificate can be amended. If the child was not born in Arizona, the process involves sending the information to the state of birth’s official record-keeping agency in order to obtain an amendment.

If you have questions about the need for establishing paternity or how to determine paternity according to Arizona state law, get in touch with the Arizona family law professionals at Arizona Family Law Attorneys


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