What Are the Rights of Fathers in Arizona?

In Arizona as in other states, both parents have both rights and responsibilities regarding their children. When parents divorce or live apart, the father is entitled to be part of the child’s life. Some people wonder, what are the rights of fathers in Arizona? Both biological parents are afforded the same rights and are both expected to participate in their child’s lives. While fathers are provided rights, there are some important differences between married and unmarried father’s rights.

Married Father’s Rights in Arizona

A father who was married to the mother of a child when the child was born is considered by law to be the child’s father. The father is allowed to share custody with the child’s mother, generally as long as there are no dangers to the child or domestic violence issues between the parents. The father can have regular parenting time with the child and must assist in providing for the child’s needs. Courts view mothers and fathers equally when determining important issues such as where the child will reside and who may make decisions for the child’s education, non-emergency medical, religious training, and personal care.

Understanding an Unmarried Father’s Rights

In Arizona, unmarried fathers must establish themselves as the legal father of the child. This should be done in order to protect your rights as a father.  In order to establish paternity, the father must file paperwork in family court. A paternity test is required to determine whether the parent is the biological father unless the parents agree that the father is, indeed, the biological father.  The father will probably also want to establish their custodial (decision-making) and parenting time (visitation) rights as without defined rights, it will be difficult for the father to enforce having any time with their child.

Child Custody and Visitation Issues

When a divorce occurs the court will make a final determination regarding the legal custody, child support, and parenting time unless the parties are able to reach an agreement on these issues.. The court does not automatically assume that the child will reside primarily with the mother. Instead, care is taken to review the situation to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Every case is different and will be decided accordingly. In cases where the parents were never married, the biological father can request custody and parenting time through the courts.

Resolving Issues of Father’s Rights

Fathers have rights that must be considered when making decisions regarding the children. These issues can be complicated, especially when the parents were unmarried. It is advisable to speak with a qualified family law attorney to review your situation and provide you with the options that are available. If you need help with establishing or enforcing your parental rights, call the compassionate attorneys at Udall Shumway PLC for a consultation.

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 Rights of Fathers in Arizona, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Jonathan D. Brooks 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.