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Does a father have a right to information about his child?

There are many fathers in Arizona. Each one of these fathers has a unique relationship with their children. Fathers also have different legal relationships with their children. If a father is married when they have a child, then they have legal custodial rights even though there is not a court order saying so. If a father is divorced or was never married to the mother of the child when a child is born, then they must have a court order granting them custodial rights in order to have them.

If the father divorces when he has a child, then the custody order must likely was incorporated into the divorce. If the father was never married, then they first must establish paternity and then petition the court for custody rights. Until this occurs, a father would not have any custody rights, which includes their right to see their child.

However, even if a father does not have custody rights, fathers' rights exist allowing a father to have access to certain information regarding their child. A father has the right to prescription medications and information about the children's health, which includes physical, mental and emotional health. They are also entitled to the physical records from the various places where a child receives health care. In addition to health information, fathers are also entitled to information about their children's education, including the school records.

If a person does not provide this information to a father, then they may be ordered to pay any court costs and attorney fees incurred by the father to obtain the information. If a mother prohibits a father from receiving the information, then she could be subjected to legal sanctions.

Many fathers in Arizona do not have custodial rights. Despite not having these rights, a father is still entitled to know what is going on with his child and is entitled to documentation regarding his child. Child custody is a fact specific area of the law, though, and fathers should understand its legal issues so that they can best protect their rights to their children.

Source: Arizona State Legislature, "ARS 25-403.6" accessed on Jan. 3, 2017

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