Typically, a father who is not married to a mother at the time of their child’s birth does not have any parental rights unless paternity has been legally established. Establishing paternity allows the father to seek parenting time and the right to give input into the legal decisions made on behalf of his child. It also triggers certain parental responsibilities such as paying child support, which accrues from birth. If the father has been providing economically for his child beyond the amount required by his child support duties, the mother may also be required to pay the father child support after paternity has been established.
Paternity may be determined by voluntary acknowledgement or by a court proceeding. In court, paternity actions are generally determined by the results of genetic testing. In a contested paternity action, it is advisable to seek legal representation. After paternity has been established, proceedings to determine legal and physical custody, child support, and other important issues may be initiated. The family law lawyers at AWD LAW® have experience representing both fathers and mothers in paternity and child custody actions. We will work closely with you throughout the entire process, and we will advocate vigorously on your behalf to ensure that you receive the most favorable result possible.
The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) administers child support payments and uncontested paternity matters. To find your local DES office, click here.
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