Paternity Faqs

Paternity FAQs

  • Q:What is paternity in a family law context?

    A:In some instances, the identity of the father of a child will not be automatically determined. This is the matter of paternity in a legal sense.

  • Q:How do you go about establishing paternity?

    A:It depends upon the circumstances. When people agree with regard to the paternity of the man that is involved in the situation, establishing paternity is quite simple and straightforward. Both parties would have to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form.

  • Q:Where do you obtain this form and how do you make it official?

    A:The hospital where the child is born will have a Hospital Paternity Program (HPP) in place. If you do not take care of it at the hospital for one reason or another, you can obtain the form and subsequently submit it to the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS). This office is located within the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and the specific form is CS-127.

  • Q:What if there is no agreement between the two parties?

    A:A paternity matter can be initiated by the child’s mother, a man who believes that he is the father, the guardian of the child, or a government agency. The superior court that is local to one or more of the parties involved would hear the case, and government agencies can initiate proceedings outside of the courtroom. In either event, genetic testing or blood testing will be conducted to make a paternity determination. There must be at least a 95% likelihood that the man that is being tested is in fact the biological father.

  • Q:Can a paternity case be presented well after the child has been born?

    A:The answer to this question is yes, as long as the action is initiated before the child’s 18th birthday.

  • Q:When paternity has been established by a court or an agency, does the father have all the legal rights and responsibilities of parenthood?

    A:Under these circumstances, the man does indeed have all of the responsibilities that any other father would have with regard to financial support. As long as the court does not have a reason to determine that the man is unfit, he would also have the same rights with regard to parenting time and potential shared legal custody.

  • Q:Can you handle a contested paternity situation on your own?

    A:There is no law preventing you from trying to proceed on your own if you are a woman that wants to contend that a particular man is the father of your child. The same thing is true if you are a man and you want to prove paternity, or defend yourself against a paternity claim because you don’t think that you could be the father. This being stated, paternity is a very important, high-stakes legal matter that will impact everyone involved for the rest of their lives. Considering the magnitude of the situation, you would do well to engage the appropriate legal counsel.

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