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What creates a presumption of paternity in Arizona?

It is important for fathers in Arizona to have good relationships with their child. In the past the mother's relationship was often times seen as more important, but the importance of the father's relationship is being recognized more and more. However, sometimes when the child is born, the biological father of the child is not immediately clear. It is easy to know who the mother is, but simply seeing a baby does not always identify the father.

In order to determine who the biological father is, paternity must be established. Sometimes that requires a paternity test, but there are many other situations where there is a presumed father prior to any testing.

One situation is if the father was married to the mother 10 months prior to the birth or the marriage ended within 10 months of the child's birth. Another situation is if a paternity test shows that a man is the father with a probability of at least 95 percent. The father and mother can also sign the birth certificate or sign an acknowledgement of paternity in front of two witnesses or a notary. A presumption is just a presumption though, and it can be rebutted if there is other evidence to contradict the presumption.

If a father is a presumed father, it creates a father's right to seek child custody if he is not married to the mother. It also gives a married man rights to seek custody of the child in the case of a divorce. Creating the presumption of paternity may not be terribly complicated, but it is often times complicated to establish custody after there is a presumed father.

If a father is divorced or if he is no longer in a relationship with the child's mother, he may seek custody of his child at some point in time. However, before that can happen, he must establish paternity. Sometimes this is a relatively easy process, if there is a presumption of paternity. This can be created in a few different ways and is very important for a father who wants to maintain a good relationship with his children.

Source: Arizona State Legislature, "A.R.S. 25-814" accessed on April 25, 2016

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