Many dads in the Phoenix area struggle with substance abuse. Whether this is due to some youthful mistake or is part of another deep-seated issue, these men may have their lives affected in a number of ways by their substance abuse addictions. Some may even wind up getting convicted of a drug-related offense in one of Arizona's criminal courts.
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.
It seems that among children who are living with either one or the other of their biological parents, most still live their mothers. Since the late 1960s, the number of children who are living with parents who are married to each other, including stepparents, has declined considerably, from 85 percent down to 65 percent.
It turns out that there is some truth to the rumor that a lot of people go through divorces, separations or just informal breakups in January.
A previous post on this blog talked about the importance of establishing a clear parenting plan that spells out which parent will have the children at what points over the major holidays. This post explained that doing this sort of careful planning can make the holiday season go smoothly for everyone.
As much as he may try, a dad may have a hard time convincing a court to award him either legal or physical custody, and he may be left with getting some parenting time with his child.
Many dads in the Phoenix area really want to be involved in the lives of their children and make a lot of efforts do so. Sometimes, the moms of these children sadly try to interfere with these efforts, which means that these men need to use the formal legal process to assert their fathers' rights.
Many residents of Phoenix, Arizona, are probably aware that a man can become the legal father of a child, and thus have the right to have a relationship with that child and a duty to support that child, by submitting to DNA testing. This type of testing is very accurate and can determine almost to a point of certainty whether a man is the father of a particular child.
Like other states, Arizona has laws protecting victims of domestic violence as well as those victim's children. Basically, although the default in Arizona is that parents should share legal custody of the child and should each get liberal parenting time, this default will not apply when a judge finds domestic violence has occurred or has been occurring regularly over the course of the couple's relationship. Therefore, it is important for fathers or mothers to recognize that, under the law, a court does not have to wait for a criminal conviction or have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a parent committed an act of domestic violence.
Many couples in Phoenix, Arizona, who are not living together may decide to resolve their custody and visitation issues by agreement and submit an agreed parenting plan to the court. Because this parenting plan will become a binding court order once a judge approves it, it is important for fathers who want to have a relationship with their children to make sure it addresses all critical topics.