What you need to know.
Presumption of Paternity
In Arizona, if you are a married father, there is a legal presumption that you are the biological father of the child. This means you are presumed to be the legal father of the child and paternity is already established. You have a legal right to the child and to participate in major decision about the child, such as medical treatment, education or religious training. Being a married father comes with responsibility as well in the event of a divorce, particularly regarding the establishment of child support.
Equal Rights Under the Law
In Arizona the law recognizes the equal rights of fathers during separation and divorce. The fact that you might have worked full-time during the marriage to allow your wife to stay home to care for the children will not be held against you when it comes to determining legal decision-making and parenting time. Courts in Arizona no longer follow the “tender years doctrine” where mothers were favored when it came to determining parenting schedules for young children. Both mother and father are viewed equal in the eyes of the law and either may qualify for primary residential parent. The courts cannot favor one parent over another and must take the facts of each case into consideration when they make a decision. Courts and parents should both focus on the children’s best interests.