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Why is it important to establish paternity of a child?

Not that far into the past many Arizona families fit into a standardized mold that included a father, a mother and any number of children born to the parent's marriage. Such familiar structures were common, but today families take on many different forms. While in some cases the two parent structure still exists, today it is just as common for families to include single parent homes, mixed families and families in which grandparents or other third parties take active roles in the raising of youths.

The fluid nature of what a family is has made it easier for some individuals to live the lives that they want. Not all parents' relationships last, and as such it can be beneficial for individuals to separate and raise their children despite the failure of their union. When parents separate prior to the birth of their children, though, questions can sometimes arise regarding the parentage of their offspring.

A child born to an unmarried couple may, in some cases, be presumed to be the child of the partners. However, a presumption does not always attach when a child is born to a mother who does not have a relationship with the child's father. Paternity establishes a father's rights to be a parent to his child and creates an obligation in that father to support his child and their development.

A child whose father has been established through paternity testing may collect support from him and may be granted custodial or visitation time with him as well. A father who is legally determined to be a child's parent may have the right to make decisions about his' child's upbringing and to be included in their activities.

Without a presumption or determination of paternity a man may lose out on the chance to participate in the life of his child. His child may lose out on the chance to have a loving father supporting them. Paternity creates the legal connection between a man and his child so that rights and obligations may pass between them.

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