Establishing Paternity

Before a father can obtain parental rights or a mother can obtain support for a child born out of wedlock, a court must first establish paternity of the child. This is done by filing a petition known as a paternity action.

If you have been served with a paternity action or you want to file one, now is a time when you could benefit from the advice of a family law attorney. At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, in Phoenix, our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of Arizona child custody and support laws. Let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you.

How To Establish Paternity In Arizona

Either the father or mother can file a paternity action. Fathers typically file paternity actions to obtain parenting time and legal decision-making for their child following the breakup of an unmarried relationship. Mothers typically file paternity actions to obtain child support.

The first court appearance in a paternity action is a hearing in which no evidence will be presented. If both parties acknowledge who the father is, the court will accept the acknowledgement. If either side disputes who the father is, then the court will schedule an evidentiary hearing. The father, mother and child will be required to take a paternity test for this hearing.

Once paternity is established, the court can proceed to determine child support, parenting time and legal decision-making for the child. The stakes can be high for both the mother and the father. For example, a father may be ordered to pay back child support for up to the past three years. The mother may be ordered to share legal decision-making and parenting time with the father and would need to obtain court approval to relocate.

When a child is born to unmarried parents in Arizona, fathers can acknowledge paternity by signing a CS-127 Acknowledgement of Paternity form, which is available at the hospital. As a father, you should not sign this form if there is any uncertainty about paternity. This acknowledgement of paternity would still need to be entered in court to establish paternity.

Contact Our Phoenix Paternity Lawyers

For more information about establishing paternity in divorce, contact DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, in Phoenix, Arizona. Call 602-626-9552 or 800-409-0262 to schedule a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.