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Paternity matters when it comes to a father's rights

There are a number of circumstances under which a man may be presumed to be a child's father. If, for example, the man was married to the child's mother when the child was born, under the law the man may be presumed to have fathered the child with his wife. Other presumptions of paternity exist and Arizona residents may need to get more information about their own unique circumstances.

However, if there is no marital or other relationship-based rationale on which to support a paternity presumption, a father may find that he is neither recognized as a child's parent nor given parental rights over the child. In such circumstances, the man may choose to submit to paternity testing to demonstrate his affiliation with his presumptive child.

Paternity testing compares the genetic material of a man to the genetic material of a child. If enough markers match, the man is found to have fathered the child. Such a determination of paternity is significant, as it allows the man to pursue custodial rights, visitation time and to have a financial stake in maintaining the child's needs.

A man who wishes to be recognized as a child's father may initiate a paternity action, but women may also start paternity claims in order to compel support from men who have not acknowledged their fatherhood over the child. When electing to begin a paternity claim or when responding to a lawsuit for paternity, a man should ensure that he is fully aware of his rights under the law. The right information can be an invaluable resource to someone whose parental rights may be impacted by the outcome of a paternity test.

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