Protecting Parent-Child Relationships for Unmarried Fathers and Mothers
As a matter of public policy, Arizona does not distinguish between married and unmarried parents in promoting strong relationships between parents and children. This policy preference covers not only the practical aspects of financial support that are typically the focus of paternity proceedings in court, but also legal custody (legal decision making), physical custody (parenting time).
To work with a law firm that can help single mothers and fathers understand the possibilities for defining and maintaining a solid relationship with their children, contact our divorce attorney Mesa AZ from the Law Offices of Janice M. Palmer, P.C., in Chandler. We advise people about all aspects of paternity, child support, fathers’ rights and making a single-parent relationship work for your child and yourself.
Divorce Attorney Mesa AZ: Call (480) 820-4771 or toll-free at (888) 352-7725
Identifying the biological father of a child only rarely presents close issues of fact in an Arizona paternity case. DNA testing will generally prove that a particular man is the father of a particular child, even if he denies paternity. In many situations, the man will already have acknowledged his child, and there is no issue as to paternity. However, legal decision making, parenting time and child support must be determined as well. It is important to have legal assistance with these matters, even if everyone agrees who the father of a child is.
The most immediate practical consequence of a paternity action is to create a continuing support obligation between the man and his child. The same income-based child support guidelines used to establish these obligations in divorce cases are used in paternity actions.
In Arizona, the state, through the Attorney General’s Office, can initiate paternity and maternity proceedings. If the State of Arizona initiates the case, the only issues that will be addressed are establishing paternity and determining child support. The State cannot address custody (legal decision making and parenting time issues). If a father or mother wishes to establish a parenting arrangement with the child, he or she will have to file a request to establish custody and parenting time. As in the case of married parents, the time that a parent spends with his or her child is an adjustment (by percentage, depending on the amount of days spent with the non-custodial parent) in the amount of child support paid by that parent.
Advising Unmarried Parents in the East Valley and Northern Arizona
Unmarried fathers have as much right to custody (legal decision making and parenting time) of their children as any other parent has, but they have to initiate the legal action necessary to formalize their rights. divorce attorney Mesa AZ Janice Palmer works with many unmarried parents to develop parenting plan agreements or argue contested court hearings about the nature and extent of a single father’s right to custody or parenting time.
Contact Our Divorce Attorney Mesa AZ
To learn more about your options on either side of a paternity action in Maricopa County or northern Arizona, contact our divorce attorney Mesa AZ from the Law Offices of Janice M. Palmer, P.C., in Chandler.