Fathers play a significant and irreplaceable role in the lives of their children, providing love, support, and guidance that contribute to their growth and well-being. Recognizing the vital importance of fathers in a child’s life, the laws in Arizona now emphasize the need to establish paternity for both legal and emotional reasons. At The Peterson Law Firm, we understand the significance of this process and are here to provide you with the legal advice and assistance you need to establish paternity in Arizona.
Establishing a child’s paternity holds significant importance for unmarried mothers, unmarried fathers, and same-sex partners alike. Gaining the right to participate in crucial legal decision-making concerning the child’s education, religious upbringing, and medical care necessitates establishing one’s parental status. For unmarried fathers or same-sex partners desiring regular visitation with their children, establishing paternity is equally essential.
On the other hand, if you are an unmarried mother seeking child support, you must first establish the child’s paternity. Without establishing paternity, the state cannot issue a child support order against an unmarried parent, making it a vital step in securing the necessary financial support for the child’s well-being.
Discovering that you are the parent of your child does not automatically trigger custody and father’s parenting time proceedings. Although you may be able to come to an informal arrangement with the child’s mother, such an agreement might not offer protection in case of future disputes or conflicts. To secure a legally enforceable order, it becomes necessary to file a petition in court for an official determination of legal decision-making authority and parenting time. Taking this step ensures that your rights as a father are formally recognized and protected by law, providing a solid foundation for your relationship with your child.
According to A.R.S. § 25-803, the following individuals can file a petition to establish paternity:
The petition must be filed in the county where the child resides, and the court will schedule a hearing to determine if necessary. To establish the obligation of providing child support, it is necessary to file the petition before the child reaches 18 years of age. However, even after the child becomes an adult, you can still file a petition to establish his or her rights to inheritance.
Responding promptly to a petition is crucial. Failure to respond could result in a default judgment, with the court ordering you to pay child support. Additionally, if you fail to comply with a court-ordered DNA test, a default judgment may be entered against you as per A.R.S. § 25-813. Subsequently, under A.R.S. § 25-809, the court will issue a child support order and may even retroactively order support payments for up to three years. If the court deems it appropriate, the retroactive order may extend beyond three years, depending on good cause shown.
Establishing paternity provides numerous benefits for both fathers and their children:
If you are seeking to establish paternity in Arizona, it is crucial to have the guidance of a skilled and compassionate legal team. At The Peterson Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping fathers secure a strong bond with their children through paternity establishment.
Get the legal help you need now. Contact us today for a consultation and take the first step towards securing a brighter future for you and your child. Our experienced attorneys are here to provide you with the legal advice and assistance you need during this important process.
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