Arizona has a number of programs to promote responsible fatherhood. The idea is to make fathers more responsible and involved in their children's lives. The programs also aim at improving existing family relationships and enhancing the fathers' economic stability, as well as ensuring a better execution of a father's rights.
As many residents of Phoenix may agree, unmarried fathers have often faced difficulties when it comes to parenting a child, the reasons for which are many. However, in recent times, the evolution of fathers' rights has led to the demise of the "tender years" doctrine, which has contributed to a great extent toward bridging the gap between a father and a child born out of wedlock.
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.
Knowing the identity of a child's biological father is important for both Arizona parents and children. There are situations, however, in which paternity is unknown. In these cases, a father might not be aware that he has children or a mother might not know who the father is. Some cases involving unknown paternity are contested paternity cases. This may happen if a mother claims a certain man is the father but he denies it or if a man believes he is father but the mother denies it. Establishing paternity is often important in fathers' rights cases because it can prevent the father from being excluded from his child's life and enable him to better form a relationship with the child.
Arizona fathers facing a divorce that involves paternity issues may be interested in a recent Michigan court's ruling. The case centered on a married woman who had a child with another man. When the child was born in 2011, both husband and wife assumed the child was the husband's, and the law presumed so also. This is because in many states, the child of a married woman is automatically considered the husband's child. The couple divorced in 2013, the now ex-husband moved to another state and he was awarded generous visitation rights with his child.