Determining a child’s paternity has important implications for both parents and child. It is important for a child to know who his father is and be able to develop a bond and relationship with him. This also creates extended family relationships with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Determining paternity eases questions in the adults’ minds and creates clear family relationships and responsibilities.
Establishing paternity is also important because it creates several legal rights:
- The child has the right to inherit from and receive benefits through her father
- The father has the right to seek custody and parenting time with the child.
- The custodial parent has the right to seek child support from the other parent
If a child is born to a married couple in Arizona, the husband is presumed to be the legal father of the child and no further action is required. If a child is born to unmarried parents, there are several ways paternity can be established:
- Both parents can go the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) and sign a Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. This document is filed and establishes legal parentage. This document could also be filed directly with the court by the parents or the parents’ attorneys.
- Either parent can ask for genetic testing to be conducted through DCSS if there is any question about paternity. If the results indicate the man is the father, DCSS forwards the results to the court, requesting an Order of Paternity which will then be created by the court and sent to the parents.
- If a paternity case is opened with DCSS but one of the parents will not cooperate by signing documents or appearing for testing, the Assistant Attorney General’s office can take the case to court to have paternity determined.
- A paternity case can be filed by your attorney directly in family court, seeking the establishment of paternity and child support.
Paternity is an important matter that will affect your child for the rest of his life and it is important to establish is early and as swiftly as possible.
The Sampair Group represents parents in paternity, custody, child support and divorce cases in all of Phoenix, Glendale and Mesa, Arizona. Make an appointment today to discuss your questions with us.