Going through a divorce or a custody battle is tough, but it can be scary for fathers who are afraid of losing their parenting rights. Thankfully, Arizona prefers to keep kids with both their parents as much as possible unless there is a legitimate reason why doing so would not be in the best interest of the child. You do, however, have to establish that you are a parent, so the first step to establishing your father’s rights is to demonstrate paternity. Here are three ways to do so.
Marriage at the Time of the Baby’s Birth
If you were married to the mother when the child was born, you are legally considered to be the father of the child, and you need to do nothing to prove your paternity. Fathers’ rights are much easier to establish for fathers who were married to the mother at the time of the birth, as the law assumes you are the father unless there is evidence to the contrary. This gives you much better legal footing in the custody battle, although it’s not the only way to guarantee fathers’ rights.
Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
If you were not married to the mother when the child was born, you can still establish your father’s rights. The next easiest way is with a form signed by both parents, acknowledging you as the child’s paternal father. Obviously this step can be easier said than done. It’s best achieved when both parents are communicating with one another amicably, but even if you aren’t, good legal counsel can often work to complete this step for you.
Petition for Establishment of Paternity
If there is too much friction to get the form signed, you can petition the court to establish paternity. This will require a paternity test to prove whether you are the child’s father. The mother, the child’s guardian, or even the government, can request a paternity test as well. A paternity test will help you in your fight for fathers’ rights, but it will also make you legally responsible as the father.
Next Steps To Fathers’ Rights
Once you’ve established in the eyes of the law that you are the father of your child, you will be in a much stronger position to fight for fathers’ rights, both decision making rights and parenting time. For more information about fathers’ rights, or to get help fighting what could be the most decisive battle of your life, contact Simon Law today.