Fathers, Protect Your Rights
In Arizona, a person who believes that he is the biological parent of a child, and wants to be notified of any adoption proceedings regarding the child, is required to register his claim of paternity and his willingness to financially support the child to the best of his ability with the state registrar of vital statistics.
The notice of the claim of paternity may be filed before the birth of the child but must be filed no later than 30 days after the child is born.
This notice must be signed by the parent claiming paternity and must contain the claimed father’s name and address and the name and last known address of the mother of the child. The notice must also include either the birth date of the child or the probable month and year of the birth of the child. If the parent claiming paternity moves, he must provide notice of any change of address to the state registrar of vital statistics.
The department of health services maintains a confidential registry for this information and will only provide the information in response to written inquiries from a court, a licensed adoption agency or an attorney participating in or assisting in an adoption proceeding or placement.
If a man who believes he is the father of a child fails to file his notice of claim of paternity within 30 days of the child’s birth or is not able to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that his failure to file the notice within those thirty days is excusable and the notice was filed later than 30 says after it becomes possible for the claimed father to file his notice, an adoption of the child may proceed even if the parent claiming paternity files his notice just one day after the 30 day period following the birth of that child. In that case, the consent of the man claiming paternity of the child is not required in order for an adoption to proceed.
The fact that the individual who believes that he is the biological father did not have notice of the pregnancy of the mother is not an acceptable excuse for not filing the notice with the registrar of vital statistics within 30 days of the child’s birth. Rather, the fact that the man had sexual intercourse with the mother of the child is considered “notice” to that person of the pregnancy.
In addition to the requirement for filing a notice with the state registrar of vital statistics within 30 days of the birth of the child, any man who believes he is the father of a child must also file a lawsuit in Superior Court, within thirty days of completion of the notice filed with the registrar of vital statistics. If no lawsuit for paternity is filed, the man who believes that he is the father of the child will not be able to assert any interest in the child in the event that there is an adoption proceeding.
It is very important to contact an attorney if you are a man and you believe that you are the father of a child.