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Phoenix AZ Family Law Blog

Monday, August 14, 2017

Establishing Paternity in Arizona

Q: Why and how is paternity established?

Establishing paternity in Arizona can benefit both the child and biological father by creating "legal, emotional, social and economic ties" between them.  Paternity is defined as the state of being a father, so establishing paternity is proving through genetic DNA testing that a man is someone’s biological father. Though often established in a child’s youth, paternity testing can be done at any time during the life of the child and potential father.

Paternity confers both rights and responsibilities for both the father and the child. By establishing paternity, the biological father attains parental rights including "legal decision-making" and "parenting time", which allow him to make major decisions affecting the child and allow for the placement or physical custody of the child in his home.

Even if the biological father doesn't want to play an active role in the child's upbringing, and isn’t interested in establishing Father’s Rights, he is obligated to provide child-support once paternity is established. Sometimes these men are reluctant to being tested, but the tests may be court-ordered.

In addition to having a relationship with their biological father and potentially with his side of the family, and having access to important paternal family medical history, establishing paternity confers certain rights on the child from the father including rights to:

  • inheritance, 
  • medical and life insurance benefits
  • Social Security benefits
  • veteran’s benefits 

Paternity is easily established through a court-ordered or voluntary DNA genetic test. Once established in Arizona, paternity will be recognized in all other states. Likewise, paternity established in another state will be recognized in Arizona.

The biological mothers are not the only ones who can seek to have a prospective father submit to a paternity test. Men who believe they are the biological father of a child can initiate the paternity process, too.

Paternity is often complicated when the mother and father aren’t married. If a man believes he is the father and wants parental rights, a skilled Father’s Rights Attorney is the first place to start. This is especially true if the prospective father believes the biological mother intends to pace the baby for adoption.

In Arizona, men who believe they fathered a child have up to 30 days from a baby’s birth to add their name to a "putative father registry". If the father does not register timely, his right to consent to or prevent an adoption is forfeited.

If you are a biological mother, a potential biological father, or a child and have questions about establishing paternity or parental rights, Cohen Family Law in Phoenix can help. Contact us today for a free consultation. We've been helping families in all aspects of family law since 1982.


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