Phoenix Paternity Lawyers
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.
At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, our attorneys represent both fathers and mothers in paternity actions. We believe children have a right to a substantial relationship with both parents, whether or not their parents were married. While we believe a collaborative approach is best, especially the children, we realize that this approach only works if both parties are able to work together. If the other parent is unreasonable and refuses to agree to custody and parenting time that is in the best interests of your children, our Arizona custody and paternity lawyers fight to protect your and your children’s interests.
Paternity And Child Support Responsibilities
Arizona expects parents who are capable of working to contribute the support of their children. This includes mothers and fathers who are unmarried. If a mother or father is not willing to stipulate that he is the father of a child, either party can file a paternity action and seek to legally establish paternity. If the petition is granted, the man and the child will undergo DNA tests, which will compare DNA taken from skin cells of the gums in a painless procedure.
For mothers — We can represent you to obtain current and past-due child support. If necessary, we also can seek to enforce the child support order.
For fathers — An attorney at our firm can represent you to obtain a fair and reasonable child support payment.
Parental Legal Rights And Paternity
Even though an unmarried father is required to pay child support, the father may not necessarily be entitled to legal decision-making or visitation rights. DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC in Phoenix, represents mothers and fathers who are seeking custody or parenting time rights, as well as mothers and fathers who wish in good faith to prevent the other parent from obtaining those rights.
Establishing paternity is usually a straightforward procedure. However, the consequences of a paternity action can be significant, conferring both rights and responsibilities on both parents. Whatever your situation, DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, will work diligently to protect your rights and achieve your goals.
Paternity Tests In Phoenix
DNA Testing In Paternity Actions
When ordered, all three parties — mother, child and alleged father — must submit to DNA testing. The tests will take place at a DNA testing facility designated by the court. The state will pay for the cost of the DNA tests in advance. However, if the alleged father is determined to be the father of the child, he will be responsible for the cost of the tests.
DNA tests are highly accurate, with many tests showing higher than a 99 percent probability of paternity. In Arizona, a DNA test showing 95 percent probability of paternity is sufficient to establish a legal presumption of paternity. DNA test results can also be used to exclude a man as the father of a child.
Once paternity is established either by stipulation or DNA testing, the court can proceed to determine child support, parenting time and legal decision-making for the child.
Unmarried Parent Custody Rights Attorney
Child Custody Between Unmarried Parents
Disputes over child custody and legal decision-making for a child born out of wedlock often follow the breakup of an unmarried relationship. In many cases, the father wishes to obtain visitation rights after visits have been cut off by the mother.
If you have a child with someone else, the law in Arizona says that it is in the child’s best interests to have substantial contact with both parents, whether the parents are married or not. Arizona courts are concerned solely with the best interests of the child rather than the desires of the parents. However, substantial contact does not necessarily mean equal contact. The presumption of substantial contact with both parents may be overcome by issues such as child abuse, domestic violence and child safety.
The first step in establishing a parenting plan for a child born out of wedlock is to file a paternity action with the court. Our lawyers can guide you through the legal process to establish your rights as a parent. We can represent you in the following types of issues:
- Enforcement of existing child custody and parenting plans
- Modifications of child custody and parenting plans based on changes that affect the child’s best interests
Fathers’ Rights Attorneys
Whether you are a father or a mother, at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, our No. 1 priority is protecting your children. However, if you are a father and you are not married to your child’s mother, there are important steps that you need to take to protect your rights. At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, we help you establish paternity, custody and a parenting schedule that is in your child’s best interests.
Contact Our Phoenix Paternity Attorneys
DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC and our Phoenix team, are here to help you through paternity matters.
Contact us to arrange your initial consultation.* Call (602) 834-7005. We look forward to hearing from you.