Motherhood is a sure thing, as a woman experiences a child growing inside her and then labors intensively to bring that child into the world. Fatherhood is more difficult to verify, and fathers sometimes have to take extra steps for the state to recognize their role in a child’s life.
It is common for hospitals to presume paternity when a married woman has a child. However, when an unmarried woman has a child, the father will likely have to take certain steps in order to receive an acknowledgment by the state and the rights that he deserves as a father. What are some of the options for establishing paternity as a dad in Arizona?
If the mother acknowledges you, you can fill out a form together
Even if your relationship with the mother didn’t work out, chances are good that she understands the important role you will play in the life of the child that you share. If she agrees that you are the father and that you should play a role in the life of your child, you can execute an Acknowledgment of Paternity form at the time of birth or the Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity later.
These forms can add you to the birth certificate and officially make you the father of the child in the eyes of the state. Unfortunately, especially after a bad breakup, mothers aren’t always willing to cooperate with the fathers of their children.
You can ask the courts for help when the mother won’t cooperate
If the mother of your child refuses to acknowledge you as the father and won’t permit you to have any sort of presence in the life of your child, you may have no choice but to ask the Arizona family courts to intervene.
You can request a paternity hearing. Provided that you have adequate grounds for doing so, the courts may support you if you request a genetic test. When the test results come in and affirm you as the father, you will then have the right to ask for visitation or even initiate custody proceedings to share custody with the mother.
Although it can sometimes take a while to establish paternity, both you and your child will benefit from the formalization of your relationship.