If you and your child’s mother marry before his or her birth, Arizona law presumes that the two of you are your child’s legal parents and the birth certificate will list you as the mother and father respectively.
On the other hand, if you and your child’s mother are not legally married at the time of his or her birth, you need to establish paternity in order to preserve your rights as a father.
Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
The Arizona Department of Economic Security advises that the easiest way to establish paternity is for you and the child’s mother to fill out and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. You can obtain this free form at the following places:
- The hospital or birthing center where your child’s birth occurs
- Any local Department of Child Support Services office
- Any Vital Records office
Once properly signed by both of you, an official at the place of your signing can help process your Acknowledgment and file it. This establishes your paternity, after which your child can have a new or updated birth certificate as needed.
If your child’s mother disputes your paternity, you can apply to the Arizona Assistant Attorney General’s Office for help in obtaining a paternity hearing in court. In all likelihood, you, the child’s mother and the child himself or herself will need to undergo genetic testing before the court will issue its ruling.
The DCSS will pay the upfront costs of these tests, which are $51 for each person tested. If the test results prove your paternity, you will then need to reimburse the DCSS for these costs.