Paternity Lawyers in Surprise, AZ — Helping Establish Parental Rights and Responsibilities
Family law matters are some of the most complicated in the legal world. From divorce to child custody, these issues have the ability to elicit extreme emotions from everyone involved. Of course, among the most complex matters faced in this legal specialty involve paternity issues. Establishing parentage can be a difficult endeavor. Fortunately, a paternity lawyer in Surprise, AZ may be able to help.
At The Dodds Law Firm, we strive to secure the best possible outcome for each of our clients. In some cases, this means establishing paternity so that an absent parent has to pay child support. In other situations, it could mean identifying the true father of a child — or even helping a step-parent or partner adopt. Regardless of your needs, our law firm is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your confidential case evaluation.
How Do You Establish Paternity in Arizona?
There are actually various ways to establish paternity in Arizona. The simplest is for the parents to be married. If a child is born during a marriage or within 10 months of divorce, the state will presume the child is a product of that marriage. This means there’s no need for paternity tests or even for someone to acknowledge a child on their own.
If birth occurs outside of this timeline, however, there are other ways to establish parentage:
- Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity: This is another simple process whereas both parents voluntarily sign an agreement specifying that the man is the father of the child. This can be done at the hospital or any other time after birth.
- Court Order: If there’s disagreement over parentage, either party can request that the court establish paternity. A judge will order genetic testing at that point to identify the biological father.
- Administrative Order: Under Arizona law, the state may initiate administrative proceedings to establish paternity if a child is in foster care or the mother receives public assistance.
If these approaches sound complex, it’s because they typically are. While a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity is on the simpler side, issues can arise if there are later questions regarding biological parentage. Due to this and many other reasons, it’s wise to seek out the assistance of a paternity attorney in Surprise, AZ before doing anything. Our law firm can help you better understand your rights and how to best move forward.
What Happens Once Parentage Is Established?
When parentage is established in Arizona, there are important financial and legal implications for both the child and their parents. This is why it’s important to not take paternity lightly. You should discuss your situation with an attorney before making any major decisions. Because once parentage is established, the following rights and responsibilities exist:
- Child support: Both parents are expected to financially support their legal offspring.
- Custody and visitation: The court may issue custody orders and grant visitation rights based on a child’s best interests.
- Inheritance rights: A child can inherit assets from their parents’ estates once parentage is established.
- Health information: A child can access their parents’ health information when necessary.
- Name change: Establishing paternity allows for a child’s last name to be changed if it’s different from the father’s.
It’s important to note that these are only the most common outcomes of establishing paternity in Arizona. The implications of this process can vary dramatically depending on your unique circumstances. That’s why you should never take an online resource as legal advice. Instead, reach out to our Surprise, AZ paternity lawyers today to get a better understanding of your situation.
Is It Possible to Modify Paternity?
Establishing paternity is an important step in the lives of parents, and that’s why there are various ways to do so. Marriage makes parental acknowledgement a foregone conclusion, and a voluntary acknowledgement simplifies a sometimes complex legal issue. However, what if it turns out that a child isn’t actually biologically related to an individual who has established parentage?
In such a situation, a person could face child support obligations for a youngster that isn’t even theirs. If you’ve found yourself in this situation — or if you merely have doubts about paternity — it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney. It’s typically difficult to modify paternity once it has been established. However, it’s not impossible. Our paternity lawyers in Surprise can help you understand your options.
Contact Our Paternity Lawyers in Surprise, AZ Today
Paternity can be a complex issue in Arizona. This is particularly the case when parents are not married or infidelity calls parentage into question. However, it’s important to remember that the law provides a variety of remedies in all these situations. As long as you have a legal professional to help you navigate these complex issues, even complicated matters don’t have to drag on longer than necessary.
At The Dodds Law Firm, our team of experienced legal professionals has extensive experience in family law. In addition to helping establish paternity, we can also assist with child custody and child support issues. Whether you’re questioning if you’re truly a parent, trying to make a former partner take responsibility, or simply want to make your relationship official, we can help with these matters and many more.
Contact us today by calling (623) 267-0026 to schedule your confidential consultation. Our paternity lawyers in Surprise, AZ are ready to assist.