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Child Custody And Paternity


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Arizona Child Custody (Legal Decision-Making)

Legal Decision-Making (formerly known as joint legal custody) refers to the right of a person to make decisions about the physical, educational, health and spiritual needs of the child. Joint legal decision-making provides a way for both parents to have a voice in how their children will be raised. Arizona courts do not favor one parent over the other, based on gender, while deciding on legal decision-making.

Sole Custody (Legal Decision-Making)

When sole custody (legal decision-making) is ordered, only one parent has the right to make important decisions for the child. Sole legal decision-making doesn’t always mean that decisions are made unilateral. Both parents may discuss these decisions, but the parent who has been given sole legal decision-making, will have final say on these matters if there is a disagreement between the parents.

Joint Custody (Legal Decision-Making)

When joint custody (legal decision-making) is ordered, both parents have equal right to make decisions for their child. Neither parent will have preference over the other’s decision. In some cases, the court may order that certain issues regarding the child will be decided by only one parent.

Establishing Paternity in Arizona

Paternity is the legal determination and establishment of the father of the child. Paternity matters may be resolved either voluntary between the parents or non-voluntary by filing a Petition to Establish Paternity.

Father’s Rights

A father who was not married to the mother when the child was born has absolutely no legal parental rights until paternity is established through the courts. It is advisable for fathers to obtain a court order establishing them as the legal father even if they are on good terms with the mother. Having the father’s name on the birth certificate is not enough to obtain legal paternal rights, paternity must be established through the courts.

Mother’s Rights

A mother who was not married to the father when the child was born has no legal recourse to request financial assistance in the form of child support until paternity is established through the court. This means that the mother may want to file a court petition and have the biological father established as the legal father. In addition to child support, you can also ask the court to require the father to help pay for medical cost of the pregnancy and medical insurance for the child.

Get Legal Help with your Arizona Custody Case

At the Law Office of Austin White, we focus on Arizona family law, including matters of child custody and paternity. If you are a father or mother looking for more information about how custody or paternity cases are handled within the state of Arizona, contact child custody attorney Austin White for a free consultation by calling 480-788-0633 or filling out our online form here.