The first step to getting any parenting rights at all is to establish paternity, even if you’re the biological father. Unless you’ve established paternity, you have no right to access the child. There’s a couple of different ways to stop that in Arizona. The easiest is to sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form at the birth of the child. This is usually provided by the hospital. If you do this, you could be added to the child’s birth certificate, and it’s a very simple process if you do it near the time of the birth of the child.

According to Nolo, you can still establish paternity by agreement with the mother of the child after the fact. You’ll have to file a petition in court to do this, but it’s still a very simple and easy process. If there’s a dispute as to paternity, you will file a petition with the court to establish paternity. There will be a hearing at which both sides will present evidence for and against the alleged father’s paternity. That evidence usually takes the form of DNA testing and expert testimony, and analyzing the DNA test results. At the end of the trial, the court will either establish paternity or decide that that person is not the father. If paternity is established, the father could be added to the birth certificate of the child, even if the mother continues to object.

So what does it mean to have paternity established? Well, it doesn’t automatically give you any rights. It automatically gives you a financial obligation to support the child in the form of child support. But it doesn’t confirm any parenting time or responsibility upon you. It doesn’t get you any access to the child’s once paternity has been established.

This article for general educational purposes.