In theory, fathers in Arizona have the same basic parental rights as mothers do. However, when a man does not marry the mother of his child, he will need to establish paternity before he can request visitation rights or shared custody.
Unfortunately, if the mother of your child doesn’t want you to see your child, she may not cooperate by voluntarily acknowledging that you are the father. If you are not on the birth certificate already and she will not cooperate in recognizing you as the father, then you may require paternity proceedings.
Can your ex refuse the genetic testing that can prove you are the father?
The courts can compel genetic testing
Even if the mother of your child is uncooperative or refuses to respond to you, she will not be able to ignore the courts in the same way. In Arizona, a family law judge can compel the mother and child to present themselves for genetic testing.
Failing to do so could lead to consequences for the mother. Not only will there be evidence that she ignored a court order, but there could also be custody consequences for putting personal wishes ahead of what is best for the child.
The courts will generally agree that knowing conclusively who their father is will be better for the child than not knowing. Accurate paternity information will help a child understand their family medical history, which is only one of the benefits of establishing paternity.
Even if the mother of your child has ignored you or refused to confirm that you are the father of the child, she will not be able to indefinitely ignore the courts when they request testing to affirm paternity. Genetic testing is neither invasive nor painful.
Going to court may be the best way to gain access to your child
While some fathers worry that they will further alienate the mother of their child by taking her to court to prove paternity, the alternative is to wait indefinitely for her perspective to change. She may eventually come to respect your dedication to your child and desire to be part of their life. Even if she does not, when you have established paternity and received a court order allowing parenting time, you will no longer be at her mercy in terms of access to your child.
Taking the necessary steps to establish paternity will benefit you and your child.