Previous posts on this blog have discussed Arizona's Acknowledgement of Paternity form. As those posts explain, many men in the Phoenix area sign this form shortly after the birth of a child they believe is theirs. Upon doing so, the man's name will be on the child's birth certificate as long as the form is otherwise properly completed and filed. More importantly, while the details of custody, visitation and the rest of the father's rights and responsibilities may need to be worked out in court, the man will become the legal father of the child. As such, he will have all the legal rights and responsibilities that go with being a dad.
The Acknowledgement of Paternity is an efficient way to avoid DNA testing and a paternity suit. It may also allow the man to get started developing a relationship with his child. However, there are some situations in which a man will regret signing the Acknowledgement.
Sometimes, he may have good reasons to suspect paternity fraud and come to the sad realization that the child he thought was his is, in fact, the child of another man. In other cases, he may have been overwhelmed when he signed the form but realized in hindsight that it would have been better to just go to court.
Within the first 60 days after both parents have properly executed the Acknowledgement, a man is free to rescind his signature for any reason whatsoever. He need only sign the proper form, and he will go back to having no legal relationship with the child. Otherwise, he will likely have to raise a legal claim and return to court if he does not want to be considered the child's father under the law.