March 2019 – Establishing paternity

In the state of Arizona, establishing paternity means establishing who is the legal father for a child born out of wedlock. According to Arizona law, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if:

  1. He and mother of the child were married at any time in the ten months immediately preceding the birth or the child is born within ten months after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, legal separation or dissolution of marriage.
  1. Genetic testing affirms at least 95% probability of paternity.
  1. A birth certificate is signed by both mother and father of a child born out of wedlock.
  1. A notarized or witnessed statement is signed by both parents acknowledging paternity.

This process is essential for fathers (even if your name is on the birth certificate), because until the Court finds that the biological father is the legal father, the father has no legally enforceable right to pursue custody of the child, make decisions for the child (such as what school they should attend, or decisions for medical treatment) or even see the child without the mother’s consent. Until legal paternity is established, the mother can make all major decisions for the child without input from the father, withhold the child from the father as she sees fit without any legal recourse and may even be able to travel and take the child out of state or out of the country without the father’s consent.

So, how can paternity be established?

  • Putative Father Registry;
  • Establishment through the Department of Economic Security;
  • Establishment through the Department of Health Services;
  • Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity;
  • Petitioning the Court in Paternity Proceedings; and
  • Engaging in genetic testing

Follow our blog every Friday of this month at as we discuss the mother’s rights in a paternity proceeding, the Putative Father Registry, and how to obtain, rescind, and challenge a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity.

If you find yourself or a loved one in need of establishing paternity and you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.