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Family Law Research Guide: Establishing Paternity

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How do I establish paternity?

An action may be brought to establish the paternity of a child born out of wedlock, to compel the support of the child, and to establish custody and visitation rights. The action may be filed by the mother, father, guardian, or a public welfare official of the county where the child resides or may be found. A.R.S. § 25-803.

See these websites for information about procedures for establishing paternity:

Also, see the Family Law Resources page for additional resources.

What should I do if someone I am not married to is pregnant and I want to ensure that she does not give the child up for adoption?

A father (or a person who thinks he is a father) who is seeking to establish paternity and wants to receive notice of adoption proceedings must file a notice of his claim of paternity and his willingness to support the child with the registrar of vital statistics. The notice may be filed before the birth of the child, but must be filed within thirty days of the birth of the child. A.R.S. § 8-106.01 and § 25-812.

Will I have to take a blood test?

The court may on its own motion or the motion of any party to the proceedings order blood or DNA testing. A blood test can be arranged through the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Division of Child Support Enforcement for a minimal fee.

What are my support obligations once paternity is established?

After a finding of paternity, the court shall determine the amount of past support to be paid. The court will not order past support back further than three years from the beginning of the proceeding unless it finds there is good cause. A father may also be ordered to pay the expenses of the childbirth. A.R.S. § 12-809. See the Child Support page for more information.


Last revised: 22 October 2008

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