Paternity / Establishment
When a child is born to an unmarried woman in Arizona, certain legal consequences result, including the need to obtain a "order of paternity," which formally identifies the father of the child. A paternity action can be brought by either a man or a woman to legally establish the rights and responsibilities of the child's father. Until the "order of paternity" is signed, the mother is considered the sole physical and legal custodian of the child.
Scottsdale Paternity Attorney
At the Daly Law Firm, we are experienced bringing and defending paternity actions. Let us help you through this difficult and emotional process as you secure the best results for you and your family. Contact us to discuss any paternity case in Phoenix or Scottsdale in Maricopa County, Arizona.
Arizona Law in Paternity Actions
Pursuant to Section 25-804 of the Arizona Revised Statute, either parent of the child can begin the paternity action either after the child is born or even during the pregnancy by filing a Petition to Establish Paternity. Any action to establish child support must be filed prior to the child's 18th birthday, except in limited cases in which the child is mentally or physically disabled.
Many men assume that because their name is on the birth certificate they are recognized as the legal father of the child under Arizona law. Although the birth certificate provides important evidence of paternity, it does not formally bestow any legal rights or responsibilities on the father named on the birth certificate. Instead, one parent must file for a "Order of Paternity," which is issued by the court to formally identify the child's father. Once the order of paternity has been signed, then the court can enter an order to address other important issues such as:
- Physical and legal custody;
- Ability to make educational and medical decisions for the child;
- Child support; and
- Child visitation and parenting time.
Often these issue must be decided at the same time because they tend to effect one another.
Under Section 25-814 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, Arizona law presumes that the mother's husband is the child's father if the parties were married within 10 months prior to the child's birth. This legal presumption under Arizona law can be challenged or contested by other evidence such as a DNA blood test. If the father or mother refuses to cooperate with determining the biological father of the child, the court can order one of the parties to submit to the DNA test.
Child Support in Paternity Cases under Arizona Law
The court can order child support that predates the filing of the paternity action in certain cases. In many cases the court will only order support for the last three years. Pursuant to Section 25-809(B) of the Arizona Revised Statutes, the court in a paternity case will determine the reason for the delay including whether one party was avoiding the legal process, whether one party was acting improperly, and whether the delay exceeded three years.
Daly Law Firm, PLLC - Phoenix Paternity Lawyer
Find out how you can protect your rights while acting in the best interest of the child to secure adequate child support and a fair parenting plan that establishes custody and visitation. We provide free consulations regarding paternity cases in Arizona. Call (480) 607-8308 to schedule your free consultation today.