Establishing Paternity in Phoenix

It is no longer scandalous for a woman to raise a child on her own out of wedlock; some even prefer to do so without interference from the biological father which is why some get pregnant via an anonymous sperm donor. However, there may come a time when the mother needs to establish the paternity of the child for whatever reason, and the alleged father may not want to cooperate. This may be because once paternity is established, the court may order the father to pay child support retroactive up to three years as well as expenses related to the pregnancy and birth. On the other hand, a man who believes he is the biological father may desire to have a more active part in the child’s life including visitation and parenting rights. Divorce may also give rise to the question of paternity. In such instances, it would be necessary to bring a paternity action. Paternity is essentially fatherhood and the desired result of a paternity action is for the court to rule on who the father of the child is. There are several ways available to Phoenix residents to establish paternity. The father may simply sign a form called Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and the mother will acknowledge it. With this form, it officially establishes the legal paternity of the child. But as mentioned earlier, if either parent contests the paternity of the child, an action may be filed by the child’s:

  • Mother
  • Putative (not established) father
  • Guardian or custodian
  • Source of government welfare or health insurance benefits

In the case of government intervention, it may be in order to get reimbursement for the benefits paid on the child’s behalf, and the paternity action may be done outside the court system. If the government agency makes a ruling on paternity, it carries the same validity as a court ruling. It is within the power of the court or the government agency to compel genetic testing of the alleged father and the results must have a minimum of 95% biological match. In general, a paternity action can be filed by an eligible third party even before the child’s birth, but not later than its 18th birthday. However, once the child is past 18, only that adult child may file a paternity action. It may be to complete a medical history, inherit property, collect benefits, or simply to find out.