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Paternity & Fathers' Rights

Paternity Rights in Arizona - The Basics.

Contrary to popular belief, your name on the birth certificate or signing of an acknowledgment at the hospital does not establish paternity. If a man and woman are married, Arizona law presumes the husband is the father of any children that are born into the marriage. Otherwise, paternity must be established by court order.

Is an Order of Paternity What I Need?

A paternity proceeding is begun in Family Court by filing a petition to establish paternity. Once the parties are in court, they have the option to consent to an order of paternity, which means that there is no question as to who is the father of the child, and that neither side is requesting blood or DNA tests. It is very difficult to overturn a consent order of paternity and may stand in court even if down the road it is determined that the legal father is not the biological father.

If there is no consent order of paternity, the court will generally order blood or DNA tests. Once the results of the blood or DNA tests are known, the parties will once again have the option to consent to an order of paternity or to request a hearing. If the case goes to a hearing, it is up to the party seeking to establish paternity to prove paternity by clear and convincing evidence. The parties are not required to accept the results of the tests, but challenges to DNA testing are very difficult and can be very expensive.

Legal recognition of paternity is necessary to obtain an enforceable order for child support and to establish parenting time for the father. Click here to find out more about protecting your rights as a father.

What Are a Fathers’ Rights In An Adoption?

Arizona law provides that a fathers’ consent to the adoption of his child is not needed if:

  • The father was not married to the mother at the time of birth,
  • If the father has not legally adopted the child, or
  • If the fathers’ paternity has not been established according to law.

A father must be served notice advising him of the proposed adoption of his child and giving him 30 days to initiate a paternity proceeding in the Superior Court and to serve notice to the mother. If the father does not initiate a paternity action speedily and completely, he will be barred from asserting his interests in the child; meaning he legally forfeits all rights. This is a drastic result and may unfairly affect fathers who cannot afford the cost of a Superior Court lawsuit on 30 days notice.

Contact A Family Law Attorney Today.

Our Arizona fathers’ rights lawyers at Platt & Westby, P.C., offer payment plans and options to make our legal services available and affordable so that your legal rights and relationships are not sacrificed due to a temporary shortage of funds. Fathers who have not yet had their paternity formally established according to law should do so now.

Contact our office or call 602-277-4441 to speak with one of our experienced Arizona family law attorneys at Platt & Westby, P.C., for help with a paternity claim, or any related paternity questions.

If you have a question about paternity rights, contact us.

We can help.


Melissa Keiper
Melissa Keiper
00:40 22 Feb 18
I wrote in to a law message board asking about a step in my case and Mr. Peter Westby replied with some sound advice. I emailed him to thank him for his advice and shared with him I was not being represented. He offered to meet with me to go over my case and possibly about representing me. In our meeting he allowed me to give him all the details of my case and he spent a good amount of time offering advise and insight to the law pertaining to my situation. Mr. Westby was very patient and allowed me to ask multiple questions and was thorough in his answers. Because I live 2 hours away and in a different county (Tucson), and because my case will most likely go to trial and the cost of travel for him to represent me I am unable to retain Mr. Westby as my attorney. However, if this were to be taking place in Phoenix I would hire him in a heartbeat. I appreciate his willingness to talk with me and spend his time assuring me about the steps i'll need to take in my case. He was very prompt in his reply to my question and then for scheduling a phone conference to go over a case he prob knew he wouldn't be able to take given the distance.read more
Lance Wallace
Lance Wallace
16:44 04 Jan 18
I've worked with Pete Westby on a few matters over the years and I do recommend him and his firm. It is nice to talk and work directly with a principal of the firm who has both integrity and tons of experience.read more
John Rukavena
John Rukavena
23:25 12 Oct 17
Meet with Peter today and was very impressed. I had a large tile job that was done improperly and was not sure if a lawsuit made economic sense. Peter was straightforward and told me that if the contractor did not have sufficent assets, a lawsuit would be risky because a favorable court decision might not result in a payout. I now know what I need to do thanks to Peter.read more
David Hughes
David Hughes
17:08 08 Nov 17
Mr. Westby was great and very knowledgeable and the staff was friendly and very responsive and kept me informed every step of the way... I would and will definitely recommend Platt & Westby P.C. to friends and family.read more
Jordan P
Jordan P
19:07 04 Sep 17
We went in for our free consultation regarding our legal concerns and we were very happy with our experience and outcome of our situation. Mr. Rahtz was professional, informative, and helpful. I would recommend him for anyone seeking legal counselling. Thank you to Mr. Rahtz and the rest of the team at Platt & Westby.read more
Kenneth Crayton
Kenneth Crayton
07:30 22 May 18
RahtzHe gave me his undivided attention and seemed to genuinely care. In my experience, it has been very tedious and daunting to begin a conversation with an attorney, especially one at a law firm with other partners, etc. That is, usually law firms won't lend an ear, it seems, unless you pay $100-300 initial consulting fee, which is basically a $15 overview of your case and whether they think it's worthwhile$$$.However, not only was I surprised to see Attorney Rhatz offer a no-cost consultation, but he also kept it "real." He advised me with information that even seemed to work against his assumed interest in profit (i.e., he didn't try to exploit me for money), such as by providing me with self-help research suggestions, and even helped me put together an outline for my case.He didn't want me to lose more money winning with him (he didn't want me to spend so much money to retain him, that even if winning the case, I'd still be at a net negative dollar-loss).He gave me his undivided attention, asked questions that showed he actually paid attention, and was very resourceful with directing me towards credible sources of jurisprudence.What's more, is that he didn't throw me out after 15 minutes, but rather stayed with me until he felt I was sufficiently informed with the material and answers to questions to send me along my way.This man even read through all my notes and connected with me as a person.I also appreciated his aggressive, but civil, nature towards vanquishing the countering party. He is strategic, he is prepared to preempt the countering party's legal arguments by first calling them out himself, and sparks reassurance that he is sedulously and astutely on the case.Obviously, I would recommend attorney R Andrew Rahtz for the aforementioned reasons, despite only meeting with him one time on an preliminary consultation.read more
Paulo Soares
Paulo Soares
01:38 11 Jul 18
Mr. Westby really knows his stuff, and gave me some excellent advice. I will be back to move forward on my situation.
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