In Arizona, both parents have legal rights to the children that they share. They can ask for parenting time and the right to help make important decisions about the child’s schooling and medical care.
However, a mother’s rights tend to be automatic, while the father may have to take certain steps to enjoy his rights as a dad. Married fathers can count on the state including their name on the birth certificate for their child, but that is not always the case for unmarried fathers.
How does an unmarried dad in Arizona establish paternity?
He can cooperate with the mother
The easiest and fastest way to establish paternity in Arizona is to work together with the child’s mother. If she agrees to acknowledge him, the two of them can fill an Acknowledgement of Paternity that can help him add his name to the birth certificate.
Parents can fill out this paperwork right at the hospital after the birth of a child or any while the child is still a minor.
He can ask the courts for assistance
Sometimes, the mother of a child does not want to acknowledge the father. Perhaps there was a rocky end to the relationship, or maybe she worries about sharing custody.
Whatever her motivation, a father who wants to establish paternity can ask the courts for help. The Arizona family courts can compel both mother and child to participate in genetic testing and establish definitively whether the man who requested the hearing is the father or not.
Taking the right steps to establish paternity will give you the right to be present in your child’s life and maybe even request shared custody.