PATERNITY IS NOT JUST A BIOLOGICAL RELATIONSHIP

Legal paternity confers particular rights and responsibilities, and it is not always established at birth even when the father’s identity is known and undisputed. It also does not necessarily depend on a biological relationship.

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FAST FACTS ABOUT PATERNITY

Legal paternity refers specifically to the legal rights and obligations created by a parental relationship. It can be established by voluntary acknowledgement or by a petition filed in family court. Usually, but not always, the issue of paternity is consolidated with establishment of legal decision-making, parenting time, and child support. Once paternity is legally established, it can be very difficult or even impossible to disestablish, even with conclusive genetic evidence. Either parent may request genetic testing to confirm paternity.

Paternity can be established through voluntary acknowledgment, a sworn statement signed by both parents and filed with the Department of Health Services, the Superior Court, or the Department of Economic Security. Voluntary acknowledgments of paternity are most commonly executed at the hospital after birth. Individuals have sixty days to rescind or undo an acknowledgment of paternity.

A man is presumed to be the father of a child if he and the mother were married at any time in the ten months immediately preceding the birth or if the birth certificate is signed by the mother and father when the parents are not married. This presumption does not establish any parental rights and can be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence.

The term “Father’s Rights” is used by other family law attorneys primarily to exploit men’s fear of a gender-biased family court. But Arizona law treats both parents equally, regardless of gender. So “father’s rights” is just a marketing gimmick. Regardless of gender, good parents are good parents. Our child custody attorneys possess extensive experience representing fathers and mothers.

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