Mother's Rights in Arizona

Mothers' Custody and Parental Rights in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona.

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Are you married or unmarried?

Mother's rights are different if you are unmarried or if you are married going through a divorce.

Married Mothers

If you are a married mother, you and the child’s father are presumed to have an equal legal right to see the children and participate in major decisions about the children, such as medical treatment, education or religious training. Legal decision-making refers to who makes the major decisions for your children such as health and education.

Married mothers (and married fathers) have joint legal decision-making until a Court says otherwise. The parenting time schedule determines when each parent gets to see the children.

Unmarried Mothers

If you are an unmarried mother, and paternity and/or the father’s rights have not yet been established, you have a lot more power than an unmarried father when it comes to your children. You may give the child up for adoption, take the child away from the father, not allow the father to see the child at all or make any other significant decisions all without the father’s consent or permission.

However, once paternity is established and the unmarried father files a Petition to Establish, he may potentially obtain rights to see the child and make decisions regarding the child.

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Married Mothers

What you need to know.

Unmarried Mothers

What you need to know.

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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.

Unmarried Parents


In Arizona, if you are an unmarried mother, you don’t have to do anything to gain rights to your child. Unmarried mothers have all of the rights to the child until a Court says otherwise or that unmarried mother agrees with the unmarried father to give him rights to the child.


Once an unmarried father establishes paternity and files a Petition to Establish, he may gain rights to the child. There are a number of ways to establish paternity as the child’s father. The most common, and also the easiest, way is possible when the mother and the father both agree who the father is.


When there is agreement, and both parents are willing to work together, it is just a matter of getting the right paperwork to the right place. The parents can sign an Affidavit of Paternity and file it with the court. The court will also want to know the parenting time and legal decision-making arrangements as well as the child support.

Frequently Asked Questions For Mother's Rights

I just had my boyfriend's baby. We are not married, what are his rights?

He has 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.

My baby's father is on the birth certificate signed by the hospital staff; doesn't that prove he is the father?

If it is uncontested, yes it does.

Can he be charged criminally for having possession of our child? If he obtains paternity does that mean he can be required to pay child support?

Yes, it is possible if he has not established paternity and if there are no written agreements or court orders in place.

If he obtains paternity does that mean he can be required to pay child support?

Yes. 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.

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

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