If you are married when your child is born in Arizona, then you do not have to worry about paternity. Your marriage automatically established paternity. However, if you are not married, then you need to take the proper steps to ensure you are legally the baby’s father. Putting your name on the birth certificate is not a valid way to do this. There are legal steps you must take.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security explains you can establish paternity voluntarily. You can do this at the hospital or late by filing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form with the department, at a vital records office or with the court. This form requires your signature and the mother’s signature. If you both do not sign, the form cannot be filed and paternity is not legally established.

If you have a situation where the mother will not voluntarily sign the acknowledgment form, then you need to open a case with the Department of Child Support Services. You may end up having to go to court for an order to get a paternity test. Once the court has the test results, it will make a determination of paternity and legally solidify your rights as the child’s father.

Do note that if you have to go to court, the cost for the paternity test usually falls to you. This is true regardless of whether you instigate the court hearing or not. Note that there are three tests required for successful results. You, the mother and your child all must have a test. This information is for education and is not legal advice.