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How can you establish paternity in Arizona?

When a child is born in Arizona to two people who are not married, a complicated legal situation is created. While the child's legal mother is clear, it may be more difficult to determine the child's legal father. Paternity is important for the child so that the child can have a relationship with both parents, but also so that the child can receive the financial support of both parents.

If you have a child that was born out of wedlock, you may be wondering -- how is paternity established in Arizona? According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Arizona residents have several options when it comes to paternity. Some of the options are voluntary, while others can be done without the active participation of both parents.

The Division of Child Support Services is authorized to establish paternity when a child is born to unmarried parents. If the parents want to establish paternity voluntarily, they can sign a legal document known as the Acknowledgement of Paternity. This document must be filed with the DCSS or the court and signed by both parents in order to be valid.

Parents can also choose to undergo genetic testing if there is some question about the paternity of a child. If the results of the DNA testing show that there is a 95 percent or higher chance that the man is the child's father, DCSS will ask an Arizona court to issue an Order of Paternity in the case.

Unmarried parents can also initiate a court case in order to establish paternity. In these cases, the DCSS may not be involved.

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