Today, many fathers play a greater role in their children’s lives, and custody laws in Arizona now recognize the equal rights and responsibilities of divorced and unwed fathers. At Cohen Family Law, we provide superior personal service to fathers who are seeking to assert their parental rights and to preserve their role in making decisions about their children.
Paternity lawsuits may be necessary to determine parental rights, custody or support matters when the identity of the biological father is in question. In these instances, the court will order a genetic (DNA) test. The results of this test are then used to establish a legal relationship between the parent and child and determine the extent to which the father has an obligation to support the child. Even if the biological father does not wish to play an active role in the child’s upbringing, he still has the obligation to provide financial support to the minor.
These suits may be brought by the mother, the presumed father (in many instances the husband of the mother), the man alleged to be the father, a government agency or the child (if he or she is underage, a representative must act on his or her behalf). Our firm is available to offer you legal guidance, assist in filing a paternity suit with the appropriate court or defend you against any paternity action.
The Rights and Responsibilities of Fathers
In Arizona, a father has a right to be involved in his child’s life on a regular and meaningful basis and the law recognizes the following rights:
- Parenting Time
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Adoption Notification
The courts typically base custody decisions on what is in the best interest of the child, and recognize the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. This means that mothers and fathers are considered equally in determining parenting time and custody. While the law is designed to provide fathers with equal treatment regarding their fathers’ rights and responsibilities, many fathers still face discrimination, particularly concerning matters of child custody and support. Mitchell E. Cohen routinely works with fathers to enforce their legal rights.
In questions regarding adoptions, fathers also have powerful legal recourse. The law requires a husband’s consent to an adoption when the birth mother is married, even if he is not the biological father. If the father’s name is on the child’s birth certificate and/or he has asserted a claim to a child regardless of marital status, the father has a right to pursue custody and must consent to an adoption. A father must also be notified of an adoption even if he is not married and has not asserted a parental claim.
In situations in which the parents are not married and the identity of the biological father is in question, these matters can become even more complicated. However, there is a “putative father registry” in Arizona which is designed to protect the rights of men who may have fathered a child. Fathers may add their names to this registry for as long as 30 days after a child’s birth. If the father does not register, his right to consent to or prevent an adoption is forfeited.
Contact Our Phoenix Fathers’ Rights Attorney
If you are a father who is considering separation or divorce and have any questions regarding parenting time, child custody and support, it is essential that you consult with a family law attorney who has experience enforcing fathers rights in Arizona. A father who is seeking to assert his rights or prove that he is the child’s biological father needs a compassionate and highly skilled attorney by his side. Call the law office of Mitchell E. Cohen today at 602.362.8328 or fill out a contact form on the website.