Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
If you are an unmarried couple with a child in Arizona, it is typically a good idea to formally establish paternity.
You can establish paternity with a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” form. An Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) is a document that establishes the legal father of a child. Once executed properly according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security instructions, the acknowledgment of paternity will have the same force and effect as a Superior Court Order.
In most cases, it is in the best interest of both the parents and the child to acknowledge and/or determine the paternity of the father. This will guarantee the legal rights for both parents and children.
There are many benefits to completing a Voluntary AOP, the first being it helps ensure certain rights and benefits between a father and his children. You may complete a voluntary AOP until a child turns eighteen.
To do this, the parents need to complete and sign “Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity” form. This establishes who the father of a child is. Both parents must sign, and someone not related to either parent must witness the signing or it must be notarized.
Some benefits include:
- Allowing the child to be covered by both parents’ health insurance;
- Providing the child with two legal parents, and therefore provides both parents with legal rights to the child;
- Making it easier for the child to receive survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration or Veterans Affairs;
- Making it easier (or possible) for the child to inherit from the father.
Completing this form between cooperative parents is an easy process. The acknowledgment solidifies economic and legal ties, which can come in handy if the matter becomes contentious at a later time.
Establishing paternity is not the same as establishing Legal Decision Making Authority and Parenting Time, typically referred to as “custody.” Establishing those rights requires an additional agreement of the parents or a Court Order. Establishing parenting time, legal decision-making and child support is not always an easy thing to agree upon. Many people find themselves arguing custody matters in Court when they are unable to agree, which results in the Court making an order defining the rights of each parent.
If you find yourself needing assistance with an acknowledgment of paternity, legal decision-making and/or child support and you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.630.2464 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.