What Is Meant by Presumption of Paternity?

In Arizona, married parents are generally considered to be a child’s natural birth parents. This is known as presumption of paternity. Arizona law states that a man is presumed to be the father of a child if certain requirements are met.  In some cases, the child’s father may not be presumed and therefore paternity must be proven.

Paternity in Arizona

According to Arizona law, there are some criteria that must be met in order for a man to be the presumed father of a child. If the man was married to the child’s mother at any point during the ten months prior to the baby’s birth, or when the baby is born within ten months of the end of the marriage, the man is presumed to be the father.

Establishing Paternity

If the father is named on the birth certificate, he is presumed to be the father according to Arizona law. This is regardless of whether the parents were married at the time of the baby’s birth.  DNA testing can be done to determine the father. The genetic testing must be done in accordance with the legal requirements and the testing must prove that the man is the father with 95% likelihood. Another way to establish paternity is with a signed and notarized statement by both mother and father.

Two Types of Paternity

There are two main types of paternity in Arizona including voluntary and involuntary paternity. In voluntary paternity the parents agree as to the baby’s father, will sign documents stipulating the father, or agree to approve the results of a paternity test.

Involuntary paternity is a situation that happens when unmarried parents disagree about the paternity of the child or voluntary paternity has simply not yet been established. A legal complaint needs to be submitted that names the man who is believed to be the father. The court will require DNA testing to be completed to establish paternity if the parties do not otherwise agree that the alleged father is, in fact, the natural father. It is important to know that once legal paternity is established it provides limited parental rights along with responsibilities. Rights to decision-making authority and parenting time are separate and will still need to be established.

The process of establishing paternity can be complex and you’ll likely have many questions regarding the law. When you need experienced legal guidance in paternity matters, contact Udall Shumway PLC for a consultation with our knowledgeable legal team.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Presumption of Paternity, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Sheri D. Shepard at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.