What Are Your Custody Rights If You Aren’t Married to Your Child’s Mother?

Child custody attorneys in Scottsdale can provide representation to parents who want to ensure they are able to spend time with their children. Arizona laws are aimed at ensuring that all decisions are made in the best interests of the child when children are raised by parents who live in separate households. Parents are encouraged to try to work out a parenting plan to share parenting time, and are encouraged to decide together who should have legal decision-making authority or whether such authority should be shared. 

Custody decisions must be made either by parents or by the court whenever a couple divorces. However, married couples are not the only ones who have children together. Child custody cases can become more complicated when parents are not married, and it is especially essential for unwed fathers to get legal help exercising their parental rights.

Singer Pistiner, P.C. can provide assistance to fathers who are not married to the mothers of their children and who want to ensure they can build a relationship with their kids. Give us a call to find out more about how child custody attorneys in Scottsdale can help unmarried fathers.

How can Child Custody Attorneys in Scottsdale Help Unmarried Fathers

Arizona state law, Title 13 Section 1302 (B) establishes the basic custody rule that applies when parents who are not married have a child together. According to the relevant law, “If a child is born out of wedlock, the mother is the legal custodian of the child for the purposes of this section until paternity is established and custody or access is determined by a court.”

There are certain circumstances in which a man is presumed to be the father of the child. Those circumstances are described in Arizona statute 25-814. According to the relevant statute, a man is presumed to be a child’s father if:

  • The man is married to the mother of the child any time within the 10 months immediately prior to the child’s birth or if a child is born within 10 months of a marriage terminating.
  • If DNA testing confirms that there is a 95 percent chance or greater that the man is the father of the child.
  • If both parents sign a statement, which is notarized or witnessed, which acknowledges paternity.

These presumptions can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that someone else is the father of the child. If there is a court decree that specifies that another man is the child, this will rebut the presumption established by the provisions of Arizona Code section 25-814.

A child custody attorney can provide assistance to a father in proving the paternity of the child, including in requesting a DNA test if necessary to prove that a man has a claim to a child.

Why is it Important for Unmarried Fathers to Get Legal Help?

It is vital for unmarried fathers to get help to assert their claims to their children. If a man is not recognized as the child’s father, the mother can make all of the decisions on behalf of the child and can deny visitation to the father.

Singer Pistiner, P.C. can help fathers to petition the court to request a paternity test in order to ensure that they can be recognized as the father of the child, and can help fathers to work with the child’s mother to create a legally valid notarized and witnessed statement.

Once paternity has been established, an attorney can help fathers to try to ensure they have parenting time with their children. Child custody attorneys in Scottsdale can assist fathers in negotiating with the child’s mother out-of-court on a compromise parenting plan or can provide assistance during custody litigation. The court looks at many different factors to determine the best arrangement for dividing up a child’s time between parents, and an attorney can help fathers to show why their preferred custody arrangement is the right one.

Getting Help from Child Custody Attorneys in Scottsdale

Singer Pistiner, P.C. provides representation to both mothers and fathers in custody cases. Our legal team knows the ins-and-outs of Arizona law and we will work with you to ensure that you make the strongest possible legal arguments to try to ensure you have the ability to build a relationship with your children.

To learn more about the rights of parents in custody proceedings in Arizona, download our free divorce guide. You can also give us a call at (480) 418-7011 or contact us online to talk with child custody attorneys in Scottsdale about how we can help with your custody case.


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