There is a difference between a Fathers rights when you are or are not, married to the Mother of your children. Juvenile law governs a Fathers Rights when unmarried, and have yet to go to the Family Court to establish these rights. Additionally, the Family Court governs rights of married Fathers who are in the process of divorce. And also governs the rights of unmarried fathers who file to establish paternity, and/or custody, also known as legal decision making and parenting time.
Do you want more time with your kids? Are you being denied parenting time? Are you wondering what your rights are?
No matter your situation, to establish Fathers Rights or to determine your rights, you will need to understand the “best interest factors” the courts look at to decide custody. If you have questions, are considering divorce, or establishing your rights as a Father, please call and schedule a consultation.
Three Most Common Scenarios:
- Married Fathers If you are married in Arizona, there is a legal presumption that you are the biological father of the child. Meaning, it is presumed paternity has already been established. You have a legal right your child and to participate in major decisions such as medical treatment, education, or religious training. Being a married Father comes with responsibly as well in the event of a divorce, particularly regarding the establishment of child support.
- Equal Rights In Arizona, the law recognizes the Fathers Rights as equal during separation and divorce. The fact that you might have worked full-time during the marriage to allow your Partner to stay home to care for the children will not be held against you when determining legal decision-making/parenting time. Courts in Arizona no longer follow the “tender years doctrine” where mothers were favored when it came to young children. Both mother and fathers rights are viewed equally in the eyes of the law and either may qualify for the primary residential parent. The courts cannot favor one parent over another and must take the facts of each case into consideration when they make a decision. Courts and parents should both focus on the children’s best interests.
- Unmarried Fathers A father in Arizona, who is not married to his child’s mother, has no legal right to the child until paternity has been established. Either by agreement (affidavit between the parents), or written agreement/court order outlines the schedule and decision-making ability of each parent. The unmarried Mother can make significant decisions with regard to the child’s medical treatment, education, and religious training all without the Father’s consent or even seeking his approval, unless or until he seeks to gain his rights.