When children in Arizona are born out of wedlock, there is no presumption of paternity, as there is for those who are born to married couples. Consequently, mothers, fathers and children in these situations cannot fully receive all the benefits to which they are entitled. Therefore, there are numerous reasons why it is important for unmarried parents to establish paternity.

According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, the court will not issue child support orders until paternity has been legally established. This may be done through a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or by initiating a case with the state’s Department of Child Support Services. Additionally, the court will not enforce child support agreements or orders until paternity is established.

Taking legal action to establish paternity also allows children to benefit from certain legal privileges from both parents. This includes the right to receive their mother’s or their father’s Social Security Insurance, survivor’s benefits or benefits from other government programs. They are also afforded the ability to draw health or life insurance from their mothers, fathers or both.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in addition to the economic benefits of establishing paternity, taking this step also creates the opportunity to create social and emotional ties. Having paternity legally established provides children a connection to both sides of their family. It may also help give them a sense of self.

Paternity is also important for the health of the child. It gives children’s physicians information about their fathers and their families’ medical histories. This may be helpful, for example, if the child is suffering from ailments resulting from a genetic condition such as sickle cell disease or Tay-Sachs disease.