When an unmarried father wishes to establish his paternity of his child, the usual procedure followed is his signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. This document will establish his rights and responsibilities with respect to his child. There is usually no question that the person who signs a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity is the father of the child in question.
But what if a father learns that another person has already executed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity for his child? This could be the result of an honest mistake or it could be the result of fraud or coercion. Is there any way under Arizona law for a father to establish his paternity of a child after another party has executed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity?
There is. Under Arizona law, an alleged father or another party with standing can challenge a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. If more than 60 days have passed since the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity was executed, the challenge can only be on the grounds of fraud, duress or material mistake of fact. The challenger will have the burden of proof, and the court will order the mother, the alleged father and the child to undergo DNA testing. If it is proved that the alleged father is the biological father by clear and convincing evidence, the court will vacate the disproved voluntary acknowledgment of paternity.
This procedure is an example of how fathers’ rights are built into the law of the Grand Canyon State. The legal system can be an invaluable tool for fathers seeking an active role in the lives of their children.
Source: Arizona State Legislature, “25-812. Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity; action to overcome paternity,” accessed on April 16, 2017