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Paternity is the first step in establishing fathers' legal rights

When a child in Arizona is born to unmarried parents, or when the father of the child is in doubt, establishing the child's biological father becomes an important legal issue. One common reason why courts become involved is that a mother is seeking child support from an alleged father even though paternity has not yet been established. In these cases, a court will hear evidence to persuade a judge to order paternity testing from the male in question.

While establishing paternity has historically been motivated by mothers to secure financial support, the fathers' rights movement has been advocating for fathers to initiate paternity lawsuits that will guarantee their rights to maintain relationships with their biological children. These advocates argue that establishing paternity benefits minor children as much as their biological fathers by allowing their fathers a place in their lives.

Establishing paternity thus enables a father to petition for child custody and visitation rights with his child. In cases in which a child is born to unmarried parents who ended a relationship or were never in a relationship other than a sexual encounter, mothers sometimes work to alienate the fathers from their children's lives. Established paternity thus gives a father the legal right to maintain a relationship with his own biological progeny.

At our law firm, we oftentimes attempt to have a family law court judge order genetic testing, usually DNA testing, to establish paternity in a foolproof, scientific method that cannot be easily challenged. Establishing paternity mostly benefits children who not only will know who their biological fathers are, but also will have the chance to maintain a relationship with them.

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