Compared to how they used to rule on paternity and custody cases, family courts today have much greater respect for the crucial role a child’s father can play in their life and often make decisions accordingly. That being said, fathers still unfairly get the short end of the stick in many paternity, custody, and child support hearings, especially if they do not have legal counsel helping them enforce their rights.
Assistance from a Prescott fathers’ rights lawyer could make an immense difference in how your case ultimately plays out and whether the end result is favorable for you. In addition to helping with establishing paternity, a skilled family attorney could also negotiate on a father’s behalf for a custody or support arrangement that suits their needs while also protecting their child’s interests.
Arizona state law presumes that the husband of a woman who gives birth is that child’s biological father, which means that legal paternity is presumed as well. Accordingly, fathers who are married to their child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth have the same legal custody rights over their child as their wife. This means they can make decisions regarding the child’s medical care, religious upbringing, and education on the child’s behalf.
Similarly, courts overseeing divorces and legal separations in Arizona operate under the presumption that spending equal time with each of their biological parents is in a child’s best interests. Importantly, this approach applies regardless of whether one party was the primary breadwinner and was therefore away from home a lot of the time, as state courts no longer adhere to the “tender years doctrine” that favors stay-at-home parents during child custody hearings.
However, despite the fact that there is no legal preference granted to either parent in these situations, some courts still have implicit biases against fathers that could lead to an unfavorable split of custody or visitation rights. A Prescott fathers’ rights attorney could work to combat these biases and ensure that custody proceedings give fair weight to a father’s desires and interests as well as those of their child.
If a child’s parents are not married, the father has no legal rights or obligations with regard to that child unless they or the child’s mother establish their paternity over the child. This can be done by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form along with the child’s mother, which legally establishes paternity in the eyes of the state.
In the event a mother and father do not agree on a child’s paternity, either party may seek a court order to establish paternity. Alternatively, genetic testing that proves fatherhood with a degree of certainty exceeding 95 percent can serve as presumptive proof of paternity. A fathers’ rights lawyer in Prescott could discuss options for proving paternity on a case-by-case basis during a confidential consultation.
While you do have important legal rights as your child’s father, actually protecting those rights can be a challenging endeavor. Especially if you are dealing with opposition from both your child’s mother and the court ruling on your case, getting help from seasoned legal counsel may be the only way to enforce the privileges you should be granted by law.
A qualified Prescott fathers’ rights lawyer could be a steadfast and irreplaceable ally when it comes to defending your best interests in or out of court. Call today for an initial meeting.
Willison Law, PC
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