Establishing the biological and legal father of a child has many benefits for the child, such as access to the father’s medical and family records and the potential to receive medical, inheritance, Social Security and other benefits. When an Arizona man believes that he is the father but the fact is not legally documented, he may seek to establish paternity.
There are two ways in which the father may establish paternity. One is by filing an agreement made with the mother that binds them to the results of a paternity test. This agreement applies both to planned DNA testing as well as to a DNA test that the court has already accepted. Furthermore, this method of establishing paternity applies to an affidavit from a certified lab that says the man is not excluded as the potential father of the child.
The other way is to file a witnessed or notarized statement or separate statements that acknowledge paternity. The statements need to include the mother’s and man’s Social Security numbers and signatures. When another man was presumed the father, he has to give written consent for the acknowledgment of paternity.
With a witnessed statement, the witness has to be an adult who is unrelated to the mother or man by blood or marriage. Witnessed statements have to include the witness’s printed name and address. When either of these filings is submitted to the superior court clerk or other authorized personnel, an order to establish paternity is issued. While doing so provides the child with many benefits, it also gives the man the right to seek child custody, whether it is sole or joint custody with the mother. Men who want to establish paternity may seek counsel from lawyers on how to obtain an agreement of acknowledgement or a witnessed or notarized statement.
Source: Arizona State Legislature, “ 25-812. Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity; action to overcome paternity“, November 26, 2014