Many fathers in Arizona fear being separated from their children if their current relationship comes to an end. While they may be more than satisfied to move on from a romantic relationship that is no longer working, the thought of being separated from their children can be painful and difficult and even keep people in troublesome relationships over the long term. Fathers who want to protect their legal rights to their children may find it important to officially establish paternity.
While many people associate establishing paternity with child support obligations, it can also be the first step in protecting a father's rights to access and custody over their children. By officially establishing paternity, a father is establishing his rightful role in a child's life. This can be greatly beneficial to the child, providing not only the potential for child support but access to an emotional relationship, medical history and other indirect financial benefits.
A father who wants to establish paternity of his child can do so at birth by signing a declaration of paternity. If the parents are married, this is generally unnecessary, but it can be a critical step to establishing paternity for unmarried parents. An affidavit of paternity can be completed at any time before the child turns 18. By filing an official affidavit or declaration of paternity, the father can have his name placed on the child's birth certificate, an important recognition of status that can be critical in later child custody matters.
Fathers have a right to a relationship and time with their children. A family law attorney may help protect fathers' rights and work with a loving parent to help him obtain visitation or custody of children after a breakup or separation.