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How is paternity established in Arizona?

Even when children are involved, not all Arizona couples stay together. When a breakup occurs and the man wants custody of a child, paternity must be established. These are a few ways it works in this state.

Why paternity must be established

Establishing paternity is mandatory for all fathers so that they can have parental rights with respect to their children. It allows a man to have the right to make legal decisions on behalf of his child such as education, medical care, religious matters and more. Once paternity has been established, it also allows for visitation with the child.

How paternity is established

According to state law, paternity can be established in a few different ways. If the individual was married to the child’s mother for 10 months prior to the child’s birth, it establishes paternity; it doesn’t matter if the marriage ended in a legal separation, divorce, annulment or death.

Another way to establish paternity involves taking a DNA test that shows that the party is determined to be the child’s parent by a certainty rate of 95% or higher.

Unmarried parents officially establish paternity if they signed the baby’s birth certificate or if both parents jointly signed an acknowledgment of paternity. All of these methods can show that a man is the child’s father or that a woman who was in a same-sex couple with the child’s mother has legal rights to the child.

Different parties can file a petition to determine paternity. The child’s mother, father, mother’s same-sex partner or spouse, child’s guardian, public welfare agency or even the state itself can file to establish paternity. The petition can be filed after the child’s birth or even while the mother is still pregnant.

Being a father is one of the biggest joys in life. If you want rights to your child, establishing paternity can end any question regarding those rights.