Child Support Paralegal in Arizona – Why and how do I get child support without being married? Establish Paternity first
There are many reasons why a mother, father, or child might want to establish paternity. Some of the reasons are legal and others are more personal. For a child, it may be important to establish his or her identity as it relates to the biological father. There are also times when knowing paternity is important so that a child has access to the medical history of both parents.
If paternity is established, it allows a child to be legally covered by health insurance, social security, or veteran’s benefit. Other reasons for establishing paternity might include having access to public assistance, if either parent qualifies. A child might also be able to make a claim to an inheritance by establishing paternity.
In Arizona either parent may file a paternity complaint. It may be that a mother wants to establish paternity in order to make a claim of child support. Alternatively, a father may want to establish paternity in order to have the court make a decision regarding parenting time or legal decision making for the child.
Establishing legal paternity is a process that is usually started by the mother or the possible father of the child. Just as in a divorce, once paternity is established the court can rule on child support, parenting time, and legal decision making.
Child Support Paralegal in Arizona – DNA Testing
Paternity is established a number of ways legally. If there is a question as to the biological father, the mother or father may choose to have DNA testing. DNA testing in Arizona usually costs around $400. The court will decide who is responsible for paying the testing fee, depending on the results of the test. For example, if a mother claims a man is the father and the test shows he is not, the mother will usually pay the fee. If the test shows he is the father, then he will pay for the testing. The two parents (or parties) can also come to a decision as to who will pay for the testing.
When using DNA testing to establish paternity, many people will ask how accurate the testing is. DNA testing is currently the most accurate test available for determining paternity. Testing that results in a man not being the father (often called exclusive testing) is considered 100% accurate. The nature of DNA testing is such that if a man is excluded as the father, statistically there is no possibility that the child and the man are related when there is not a match of their DNA.
DNA tests that show a man is the father can be as high as 99.9% accurate depending on the type of testing done. The accuracy depends on how many DNA points are tested. For a legal proceeding, such as establishing paternity, the lab should ensure proper handling, storage, and analysis of the DNA sample. For higher accuracy it can be important for the lab to test 13-16 points of DNA between the child and the possible father.
Statistically, it is impossible for an inclusive paternity test (one that determines a man is the father) to be 100% accurate. In order to provide 100% accuracy, the entire population would have to be tested. But with proper testing, you can be assured that the testing will be 99.9% accurate. In Arizona, it is legally required that testing show a 95% chance that the man is the father in order for the test to be used by the court to establish legal paternity.
Child Support Paralegal in Arizona – Other Ways to Establish Paternity in Arizona
If a father is listed on a child’s birth certificate, it is assumed that the man listed is the father. If a woman and man are married at the time of the child’s birth, there is usually a presumption that the husband is also the father. DNA testing can be used to prove this when there is a question of whether the husband is the father. The man presumed to be the father has to consent to the testing. If he doesn’t, then the man who believes he is the father can file a paternity complaint.
When parents are not married when a child is born, the biological father does not have a legal right to parenting time until his paternity is established and the court orders custody and parenting time. And, the court will not order child support until paternity is established.
It may be that the man who believes he is the father would like to request parenting time pending the final outcome of the case. At Arizona Statewide Paralegal, we can draft a motion for temporary order and an order to appear. After that we will get a court date so that the father can ask the judge for parenting time. The judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
It may be that neither parent seeks to establish paternity while a child is under 18. Once a child becomes an adult, he or she may want to establish paternity. Because the person is now an adult she or he has the right to start a legal process to establish maternity or paternity. Some states have a time limit for a child who is now an adult to file a paternity complaint.
Child Support Paralegal in Arizona – Contested vs. Uncontested Paternity Complaints
There are two types of paternity complaints that can be filed through Arizona Statewide Paralegal. In an uncontested paternity complaint, the other parent does not question or dispute the claim of paternity. In such a case, we work with the parent to prepare the official complaint for paternity, as well as the coversheet and the summons. One parent will file the complaint.
The second piece of an uncontested paternity complaint is the called the Affidavit RE: Minor Children. This affidavit gives the court information about the children involved included where they have lived for the past 5 years. If the children are younger than 5 years old, then the affidavit includes information about where they lived since birth.
Arizona Statewide Paralegal will ensure that the other parent is served (notified) with the official documents. We then file an application for default and the court makes a judgment on paternity. Since the other parent is not contesting the case, it is called a default judgment.
In a contested paternity complaint, we prepare the complaint for paternity, the coversheet, the summons, and the Affidavit RE: Minor Children. If there is a need for you to ask the court for a temporary order (such as a temporary order for parenting time until the case is decided) we will provide that to you. There is also an order to appear that we prepare. The other parent is served, or notified, and provides an answer to the complaint. There is a hearing regarding temporary orders, if there are any.
If at this point both parents have come to an agreement, then the court enters what is called a consent order. If there is not agreement, the parents will be involved in a settlement conference and/or mediation, and if needed the case will go to trial.
Our goal at Arizona Statewide Paralegal is to provide you with the service you need to establish paternity. We will prepare all the documents and bring them to court to be filed. We arrange to serve or notify the other parent. We also ensure that the “affidavit of service of process” is filed to prove to the court that the other parent was notified. If needed, we obtain a court date for your temporary orders hearing and we serve or notify the other parent of this hearing. We will keep you informed of the progress of your case and keep track of all deadlines.
To get started in establishing paternity for your child, contact our offices in Phoenix or Tucson today.