Paternity law deals with the legal relationship between a father and a child, including the rights and obligations of both the man and the child to each other as well as to others. A child’s paternity may be relevant in relation to issues of legitimacy, inheritance and rights to a putative father’s title or surname, as well as the biological father’s rights to legal decision making, parenting time and obligations for child support.
In Arizona, a child born to a married woman during a marriage is presumed to be the child of her husband. This presumption may be rebutted by evidence to the contrary, for example, in disputed child custody and child support cases during divorce, annulment or legal separation.
In Arizona, a child born to an unmarried woman is presumed to have no father until a father is established by a finding of paternity. In such cases, a man may come forward and accept the paternity of the child in what is called a “voluntary acknowledgment of paternity,” the mother or government can file a petition for a determination of paternity against a putative father, or paternity can be determined by the courts through estoppel over time. Today, when paternity is in dispute or doubt, paternity testing may be used to conclusively resolve the issue.
Generally speaking, a paternity action can be started before the child’s birth, but at least prior to the child’s 18th birthday. When the case is started before the child’s birth, the court will delay the trial until after the birth. For the adult who wants to determine who his or her biological father is, the law allows only that person to start a case after his or her 18th birthday.
As an unwed Father, there are specific reasons why paternity with specific legal decision-making should be established even if papers were signed at the hospital and both parents’ names are on the birth certificate. If the parents are not residing together, child support should be determined and addressed in specifics that will be recognized by the courts, to insure credit is received by the parent paying support. These and other issues should be discussed with an experiences family law attorney.
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The professionals at the Law office of Kent Lee, PC represent individuals throughout Peoria, Glendale and the surrounding communities of Maricopa County, Phoenix, Surprise, Anthem, Arrowhead, El Mirage, Avondale, Tolleson, Buckeye, Sun City, Sun City Grand, & Sun City West.
If you need legal representation pertaining to a paternity case, the Law Office of Kent Lee, PC can help. Please feel free to call (623) 889-7760.