Establishing Paternity in Arizona: Empowering Your Family’s Rights

Your Partners in Arizona Paternity Matters 



Your Trusted Legal Partner For Establishing Paternity

In Arizona, if the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, the father is presumed to be the child’s legal father. However, if the parents are unmarried, the father’s legal rights and responsibilities are not automatically established. 

If there is a dispute about paternity, the matter can be taken to court. At Benjamin Legal we know how important it is to establish paternity as it provides legal rights and protections to fathers, mothers, and children, including custody arrangements, parenting time, child support, and inheritance rights.

We’re here to help you establish paternity for the good of your child and your family.

Arizona Paternity Establishment FAQs

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"How do you establish paternity in Arizona?"

In Arizona, paternity can be established in several ways:

  • A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form can be signed by both parents at the hospital or later at the state Department of Health Services office.
  • A judge may issue a court order establishing paternity through an agreement of the parties or through DNA testing.
  • The state Department of Economic Security’s Division of Child Support Services may establish paternity through DNA testing and/or other evidence.
  • If a man is married to a woman at the time of conception or birth, he is legally presumed to be the father unless proven otherwise.
"What is the process for paternity testing in Arizona?"

In Arizona, the process for paternity testing typically involves the following steps:

  • File a Petition for Paternity, and request DNA testing from the court. 
  • The court will refer the parties to a court-authorized facility that offers paternity testing services and schedule an appointment.
  • The appointment generally involves taking a cheek swab from the child and alleged father.
  • Once the laboratory completes the analysis, they will provide the results to you and the court in writing.
  •  If the test results show that the alleged father is the biological father of the child, you can use the results to establish legal paternity.
"Can paternity be established without a DNA test in Arizona?"

There are three ways in which paternity can be established without a DNA test in Arizona.

  • Paternity may be presumed if the man was married to the mother at the time of conception or birth of the child.
  • An unmarried man can sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) form, which is a legal document that establishes paternity without the need for a DNA test. This document can be signed at the hospital after the birth of the child or later at the Arizona Department of Health Services.
  • The parties can voluntarily agree to paternity of the child, and the Court can enter an order for paternity.
"What are the legal rights and responsibilities after establishing paternity in Arizona?"

Once paternity is established in Arizona, the legal rights and responsibilities of each party (such as custody, parenting time, and child support) are specifically outlined and ordered. Here are some general rights and responsibilities:

  • The specific legal and physical custody (parenting time) arrangements are established, subject to the best interest of the child.
  • A child support award may be entered to pay child support to the other party to assist with the child’s financial needs such as housing, food, healthcare, and education
  • Both parties may be ordered to participate in making decisions regarding their child’s education, healthcare, religious practices, and other aspects of their upbringing.
  • Children and parents have inheritance rights from each other.
  • When the father’s identity is known, the child may have access to critical medical information on the paternal side of their family health history.
"How does the Arizona Department of Economic Security help with paternity establishment?"

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) plays a critical role in helping with paternity establishment in the state by:

  • Offering free genetic testing services.
  • Helping unmarried parents complete Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form in some hospitals and clinics.
  • Enforcing child support obligations.