Paternity Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)           back to main FAQ

Long ARM Jurisdiction FAQ


What are the benefits of establishing paternity?

Establishing paternity can provide legal, emotional, social and economic ties between a father and his child. Once paternity is legally established, a father gains legal rights and privileges that are afforded to all parents. A child also gains certain rights when paternity is established. Among these may be rights to inheritance, rights to the father’s medical and life insurance benefits, Social Security and possibly veteran’s benefits. The child has a chance to develop a relationship with the father and to develop a sense of identity and connection to the “other half” of his or her family. Also, it may be important for the health of the child for medical history.

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What if he denies he is the father, or says he’s not sure?

Contested paternity can be determined by the evidence presented in court, including highly accurate genetic testing conducted on samples of the alleged father, mother and child. Genetic testing results indicate a probability of paternity and can establish a legal presumption of paternity. To establish a probability of paternity in Arizona, the tests must reflect a 95 percent likelihood of paternity. These tests can exclude a wrongly accused man, but can also indicate the likelihood of paternity if he is not excluded. All parties in a contested paternity case must submit to genetic testing at the request of either party. Once genetic testing identifies the father, a court order is obtained naming the biological father of the child as the legal father.

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If genetic testing is necessary, who pays for it?

The State of Arizona will pay for genetic testing in advance. The alleged father signs an agreement to repay the state should he be identified as the father through the testing. If the alleged father is found to be the biological father of the child, he can repay the fees in a lump sum or can repay the state in monthly installments until the costs of the tests are paid in full.

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What happens if I am not sure who the father is?

When you are unsure of whom the father may be, Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) will pursue the man that you provide the most information on first so that he can either be identified as the father or excluded through genetic testing.

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My child’s father wants to acknowledge paternity. Is there an easy way for him to do this?

Unwed parents may voluntarily acknowledge a child until the child reaches the age of 18. A CS-127 Acknowledgement of Paternity form is available at the hospital when your child is born. The CS-127 is also available at the Hospital Paternity Program through DCSS at P.O. Box 40458, Phoenix, AZ 85067, 602-274-8303 (Maricopa County) or 1-800-485-6908 (statewide outside Maricopa County).

Unwed parents may also walk into any DCSS office to complete an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity (AOP) form to voluntarily acknowledge paternity.Find Your Local Child Support Office.

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If the father of my child leaves the state, will I still be able to establish paternity for my child?

Each state must give full faith and credit to paternity determinations made by other states in accordance with their laws and regulations.

If paternity has been established in another state by a court or administrative order or voluntary acknowledgement, the determination of paternity has the same force and effect in this state as if the determination of paternity was granted by a court in this state.

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