The role of a father in a child’s life is undoubtedly pivotal. When divorce or separation occurs in a family, the absence of a father or father figure can have life changing consequences for a child. Here we’ll take a look at what father’s rights are in the state of Arizona and why having a father figure is important for a child’s healthy development.
Father’s Rights in Arizona
In the state of Arizona, mothers are granted the right to full custody of their children if they are unmarried, which is known as mother’s rights. According to 2017 data from the Centers for Disease Control, 44.8 percent of children in Arizona are born to unmarried mothers.
In the case of an unwed mother, the father must fight for his rights to establish paternity and then he is on the same legal standing as the mother to seek custody of the child legally and/or physically.
There are a few ways that an unmarried father’s paternity can be proven in court. These include taking a paternity test, having both parents sign the birth certificate when the child is born, or having both parties agree to legal paternity. Fathers can also establish their paternity by proving they were married to the mother for 10 months prior to the child’s birth or that the child was born within ten months of the marriage’s end.
Once paternity is established, the father then can start vouching for custody of the child in whole or in part. (Link to blog.) One of the recommended ways, whether the couple is married or not, is to develop a parental plan with the child’s mother. Since unmarried couples may not have talked extensively about parenting practices, having a parental plan can be a good move forward to assert yourself as a worthy father figure in the child’s life.
The Importance of a Father Figure in a Child’s Life
Whether the couple was married or not, studies have shown that the presence of both parents in a child’s life is crucial to their development, as each parent fulfills different needs.
So if statistics and parenting and psychology experts are so adamant about the necessity of a father figure in a child’s life, what makes Arizona so special to this data?
In Arizona, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are at an extreme high for children. In fact, Arizona ranks as the worst state in the nation for ACEs, where children likely experience two or more of them, according to an annual report by America’s Health Rankings.
ACEs are defined by the Centers for Disease Control as “the term used to describe all types of abuse, neglect, and other potentially traumatic experiences that occur in people under the age of 18.” These experiences can affect a child’s health, career outcomes, behaviors, and more.
Fatherlessness classifies as an ACE and can be prevented through the proper presence of a father or father figure in a child’s life, making father’s rights more crucial than ever. Fight for your right–for yourself, your family, your child, and their future.
Contact Us to Learn More
Simon Law Group, PLLC, is an Arizona law firm that concentrates in family and divorce law, helping to support individuals, couples, parents, and families through all aspects of the legal process. If you’d like to fight for custody in court to provide a better future for your child, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.