Father's Rights in Arizona

Father's Custody Rights, Visitation, and the Arizona Laws About Fathers and Their Children.

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Are you a Dad who wants more time with your kids? Do you know what your rights are?

Many fathers feel left out of their child’s life. The mother is either limiting their parenting time, offering time sporadically, or outright denying them any visitation with their kid. This is heartbreaking and detrimental for both father and child.  

We all know that Children are best served by having both parents involved in their lives and fortunately, Arizona public policy supports this idea. It is policy that each parent should have substantial, frequent, meaningful, and continuing parenting time with their child. That may seem like an impossible dream for many fathers, but it is the most common outcome in Arizona child custody cases. 

The first thing you should know is that there is a difference between your rights as a Father when you are or are not married to the mother.  Juvenile law governs the rights of unmarried Fathers who have not gone to the family court to establish rights. Family court governs rights of married fathers who are getting divorced and also governs the rights of unmarried fathers who file the paperwork to establish paternity and custody (legal decision making and parenting time).

No matter what your situation is, if  you need the help of a court to establish your rights or to determine your rights, you will need to understand the “best interest factors” which is what the courts look at to decide “custody” (legal decision making and parenting time). If you have questions or are considering divorce or establishing your Fathers’ rights, please call and schedule a consultation.

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5 Facts about Father's Rights in AZ

  1. Married v. Unmarried
  2. Paternity
  3. Married Father
  4. Unmarried Father’s Rights
  5. Unmarried Father’s Rights – After Establishment

Married Fathers

What you need to know.

Unmarried Fathers

What you need to know.

Get A Game Plan For Your Family Law Situation

Schedule your consultation and meet with our team to create a customized game plan and move forward confidently.

Current Updates Regarding Coronavirus and Family Law in Arizona

Best Law Firm has seen new challenges while assisting families with divorce and child custody during the pandemic. Courts are open and law firms have been deemed essential services, so we are also open and exercising all safety precautions. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an attorney consultation by video or phone, please call us at 480-219-2433. We have provided updates and useful information about the rapidly evolving situation and how Coronavirus is directly impacting custody and divorce issues in Arizona. Please stay safe during this difficult time and know that we are here to help.

Establishing Paternity, Decision-Making, Parenting Time and Child Support


When you establish paternity you must also establish decision-making, parenting time and child support. You cannot establish paternity without establishing all of the other legal rights related to your child.


A genetic test confirms that there is at least a 95% likelihood that he is the father;
The birth certificate of a child born to an unmarried woman is signed by both parents; or
The parents voluntarily acknowledge paternity by signing an affidavit.


The father does not file a response or appear in court.
The father files a response admitting paternity.
The court orders genetic testing and the test reveals that there is at least a 95% likelihood that he is the father.
The court orders genetic testing and the father does not take the DNA test and does not have good cause for failing to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions For Father's Rights

My girlfriend just had our baby. We are not married, what are my rights?

You have no parental rights until paternity is established. That does not mean, however, that the Father should be denied time with the child. A later determination about disputed custody will include the court reviewing how each parent treated the other parent with regard to access to the baby or child. If a parent denies the other parent time with the child for no good reason, it will be reviewed at a later date regarding custody. Good reason could include domestic violence, drug abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior or child abuse.

If I obtain paternity does that mean I can be required to pay child support?

Yes, it will. Every parent must pay for their children, whether they live at the house or whether you must pay the other parent who cares for them.

Can we do this without the court?

Yes, you may be able to draft a legally binding agreement, signed by both parties, without filing it with the court. It is not however, a court order unless a Judge signs off on your agreement.

My name is on the birth certificate signed by the hospital staff; doesn't that prove I am the father?

If it is uncontested, yes it does.

Does it matter how old my child is?

Not as long as he/she is a minor. Arizona law allows parents to establish paternity anytime during pregnancy up until the child turns 18.

Can I do this without an attorney?

Yes, you can find the necessary paperwork on the Maricopa County website.

Can I really be charged criminally for having possession of my own child?

Yes, it is possible if you are the unmarried father and there are no written agreements or court orders in place.

Is it free to submit this paperwork for the state?

No. The state charges a filing fee depending on what paperwork is required to prove paternity. However, if you cannot afford the filing fee you can request a waiver from the court.

Get A Game Plan For Your Divorce or Child Custody Situation

Schedule your consultation and meet with our team to create a customized game plan and move forward confidently.

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