Determining the paternity of a child is important because fathers have both rights and obligations to their children. Both a mother and a potential father may have an interest in determining paternity and either parent can turn to the court for help.
At Singer Pistiner, P.C. in Scottsdale, our paternity attorneys understand that many people have complicated family situations and we will treat your case with the compassion and importance that it deserves. Our experienced Arizona divorce and family law professionals will assist you in taking all appropriate legal actions to determine paternity so that you can protect your child’s rights. Call or contact us online today to speak with a member of our legal team to learn more.
Determining Paternity in Arizona
The question of paternity can arise in many different situations. As a general rule, if a husband and a wife are married when a child is born, there is a presumption that the husband is the father of the child. However, if a couple is not married then things can become more complicated.
If both mother and father agree on who the child belongs to, the father’s name can be put on the birth certificate, which creates both rights and responsibilities.
If either the mother or the father question paternity, a DNA test may be required to determine who the father of the child is. A potential father may submit voluntarily to a DNA test or may need to be compelled by the court to submit to a test. An action to establish the paternity of a child and to compel support may be brought by:
- A mother
- A father
- A guardian or conservator of a child
- A public welfare official
- The state
- An adult who wishes to establish conclusively the identity of his or her father
An action to establish paternity may be brought both during pregnancy and after birth. In order for the father to be ordered to pay past due child support, proceedings to determine paternity must be brought before a child’s 18th birthday.
Rights and Responsibilities of a Father
Establishing paternity is very important because the relationship of father/child confers many important rights and obligations on the father.
A father of a child has to give consent before the child is adopted and should have visitation rights if the couple decides not to raise the child together.
According to Arizona code section 25-803, a father is also presumed to have legal decision-making authority over a child if paternity is established and the child has been living with the father for the greater part of the prior six months. The father will have this authority unless the court orders otherwise.
The father of a child is obligated to pay child support whether he sees the child or not, and cannot waive his parental rights without agreement of both parents and/or a court order that it is in the child’s best interests.
An experienced Arizona family law attorney can help parents to understand their rights and to pursue a paternity case. Singer and Pistiner, P.C. has extensive experience representing both mothers and fathers in matters related to paternity, custody and support and our paternity attorneys can put our legal experience to work for you. Call today to learn more.