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How Establishing Parentage Helps a Child

Posted On June 14, 2021 In Child Custody

It is incredibly important to establish the parentage of a child. Not only does this help the parents involved, but it is beneficial for the child as well. In Arizona, establishing the parentage of a child can be done by either voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or through genetic testing. There are a variety of reasons why families or an individual may wish to establish parentage, including issues related to a child’s well-being and welfare. Here, we want to specifically discuss how establishing parentage can help the child.

How a Child Benefits From Establishing Parentage

Perhaps the most important reason for a father or mother to take steps to establish parentage in Arizona is to benefit the child. When the identity of a child’s legal father can be confirmed, this opens up significant opportunities above the economic and non-economic levels. In fact, until parentage is established, a child may not be able to truly receive the support they are entitled to. Some of the main reasons that establishing parentage helps the child include the following:

  • Financial and emotional support from both parents. Establishing parentage will legally confirm who the father is and pinpoint the responsibilities that the father has to support the child financially. This can include through child support amount dictated through the state child support calculator. Additionally, paternal involvement can be incredibly beneficial and have positive outcomes for the child. Of course, this is not always the case. However, in most circumstances, paternal involvement will benefit a child over the course of their development.
  • Legal documentation of who the parents are. When the names of the parents of a child are in writing in Arizona, this can have significant legal repercussions. This will help ensure that a child receives any inheritance they are entitled to from the established parent after a parent’s death. Additionally, there are various government agencies that may ask for this information, particularly when a child is looking to get financial assistance for colleges.
  • Benefits related to a father’s employment. It is often the case that a child can receive financial benefits through a father’s job or career. After paternity has been established, these benefits can include employment benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security benefits, death benefits, military benefits, disability benefits, other government benefits, and more.

How Parentage is Established in Arizona

Three ways to establish parentage of a child under Arizona law. This includes the following:

  • Presumption of paternity. Under Arizona law, paternity can be presumed if a father was married to a mother for ten months before the child’s birth or if a child was born within 10 months after the marriage ended through divorce, separation, annulment, or death. Paternity will also be presumed if genetic testing affirms the paternity by 95% or more. If both parents are unmarried and signed the birth certificate, or if both parents sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, paternity will be presumed.
  • Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. Unmarried parents can establish paternity in a written statement that is witnessed or notarized. This is a statement of voluntary acknowledgment by the mother and father that the child is biologically theirs.
  • Court order of paternity testing. A final way to establish paternity is for the Arizona court system to step in. A father, mother, or guardian can file a petition to establish paternity with the clerk of court. This petition must be filed before a child turns 18 for the purposes of establishing a parent’s duty to pay child support or past child support. These lawsuits can also be initiated after a child reaches adulthood to prove that they are an heir of the parent.