How Are The Father’s Rights Affected If The Parents Are Not And Were Never Married?
If a man is married to the child’s mother, and the child was born during the time he was married to the mother, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father. This gives him greater status and rights than would be the case if he is not married to the child’s mother. For example, he will have much greater access to information about the child’s schools, medical conditions, and other important situations.
On the other hand, if the father is not and was never married to the mother, he will have virtually no rights until he admits to paternity. However, he must be very cautious about how and when he admits to paternity. In Arizona, paternity can be established in a number of ways. One way is if the father signs an acknowledgement of paternity. It is normally not recommended that fathers sign one of those documents unless they have already taken a DNA test to confirm biological paternity.
The consequences of signing a document like this can be severe. If the person is not really the biological father, and if he signs an acknowledgement of paternity, after a relatively short period of time, his ability to reverse the legal establishment of paternity may be forever lost. This means he could be financially obligated to pay the mother for many years even though another man is the real father of her child.
There are DNA test kits that can be purchased at many pharmacies. Although these test kits will not hold up in court because there is no way to rule out tampering, at least the man himself will know whether or not he is the father. The test can also be done formally by filing a paternity case and requesting genetic testing. Either way, testing is critical. Only the mother knows for sure whether she slept with anyone other than the man who thinks he is the father.
Another way of establishing paternity is to file sign the child’s birth certificate. Again, extreme caution needs to be exercised if a man thinks he is the father. He should first confirm by DNA testing whether or not he really is the father. A major trap for fathers is to think that because the child looks like him, then he must be the father. This is a dangerous assumption. It is a very crude way of assessing paternity and is susceptible to our own emotional biases.
A third way of establishing paternity in Arizona is to file a paternity case and admit in the case that you are the father. Again, this should not be done unless testing shows that you really are the father. If the couple is married, there is a presumption that he is the biological father of the child. This is a delicate topic and one that must be raised. The man who thinks he is the father, even if he is married, may want to consider a discreet DNA test if he has even the slightest doubt about whether he is the father.
Oftentimes, this will be a difficult thing to admit to oneself, because many men are proud and are reluctant to think that their sweetie may have cheated on them. Research shows that roughly 30 to 60 percent of married individuals in the United States will engage in infidelity at some point in their marriage and that two to three percent of all children are the product of infidelity. Men need to set aside their pride and make sure they are not being duped. There is also the topic of paternity fraud. Attorney Ronald Thomas has successfully handled a number of those cases. Those cases are hard to prove and hence, men are advised to get tested BEFORE they admit to paternity.
Read about the Factors That May Affect The Fathers’ Rights In Custody Matters, or call Thomas Law Office, PLC for a consultation at (602) 466-7055 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.