How to establish paternity in Arizona

When you have a baby with someone in Arizona and the two of you are not in a marriage, you must take certain steps to establish a legal father for the child. You may wish to do so if you are the mother of the child and need child support from the father. You may also wish to do so as the father of a child and someone who wants visitation, custody or other legal rights to the child.

Per the Arizona Department of Economic Security, there are several methods you or your child’s other parent may use to establish legal paternity. Available methods are as follows.

By signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity

You may establish paternity as an unmarried parent at the hospital where your child is born by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity. You may also sign a voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity after the fact and then file it with the court or another appropriate legal agency.

By signing a Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity

If both parents agree about who fathered the child in question, you may both visit a Division of Child Support Services office and complete and sign a Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity.

By requesting a court hearing

You and your child’s other parent may disagree about who the child’s father is. Under these circumstances, you may need to open a case with the Division of Child Support Services and request a hearing to establish paternity.

Establishing paternity offers certain benefits for the parents as well as the child. Doing so may help you get time with your child or, conversely, get money to use to help raise your child. However, knowing who his or her father is also helps your child develop a stronger sense of identity.