Rights of Unmarried Fathers in Arizona

If you are a father in Arizona but aren’t married to the mother of your child, she automatically becomes the legal guardian of your son or daughter. If you’re in a good co-parenting relationship with the mother, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, if you and the mother of your child don’t get along well, it means you need to understand your rights and how to go about having a good relationship with your child.

Establish Paternity as Soon as Possible

Until you established paternity, you have no legal rights to your own child in the state of Arizona. For this reason, it is important to request a legal paternity test as soon as possible. By establishing custody, you can open court orders to have visitation with your child, have partial custody, and to be an important part of the decision-making process for his or her medical needs, schooling, and so on.

Create a Co-Parenting Agreement

If you and the mother of your child are not on good terms, creating a legal co-parenting agreement (that is, one that is signed by a judge and your lawyers) is essential for ensuring you have plenty of parenting time with your child. The agreement should include where the child sleeps, where he or she goes to school, medical information, rules for taking him or her out of state, and so on. You may also want to include holidays in the co-parenting agreement.

Hire an Established Attorney

Regardless of the situation, it is important to hire an established, professional family law attorney to assist you as you navigate your rights to your child as an unwed father. A professional lawyer will have the knowledge and tools to help you fight for your rights and ensure your child has what’s best for his or her needs.

In a perfect world, you and the mother of your child will have an excellent relationship that is mutually beneficial. The world isn’t perfect, though. Don’t go it alone. Do what you can to ensure you have the time you deserve with your son or daughter.

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