In Arizona, it’s important that you establish paternity as soon as you can when you have a child. Signing the birth certificate alone isn’t enough to truly establish your rights. Additionally, child support and custody orders can’t be enforced until paternity is established.
Many people use the Hospital Paternity Program, or HPP, after the birth of their children. This is a collaboration between the hospitals in the state and the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS).
How can a father establish paternity?
At the hospital, fathers can establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This form is available at any birthing center or hospital in Arizona. Once this is signed, the birth recorders and nurses will help make sure paternity is established legally.
If that isn’t done at the time of the birth, a father can pursue paternity rights by filling out a form at the DCSS office. The voluntary form has to be signed by both parents.
What happens if either party is uncooperative?
If either of the parents are fighting the paternity acknowledgement, then it’s important to have the case heard in court. A court can order DNA testing to establish paternity. Once it’s established, a child support order can be put into place.
The state offers genetic testing through the DCSS that costs $31.75 for each person (the mother, child and father).
If you need to establish paternity, remember that it doesn’t have to be difficult. Your attorney can walk you through the steps, so you can establish the right to be a parent to your child based on your biological relationship and paternity.