What are Father’s Visitation Rights in Arizona?

A father helping his daughter with homework.

A father helping his daughter with homework.
Many fathers who are seeking visitation rights for their children may find themselves in a difficult situation. Fathers have an equal legal opportunity for child custody and visitation, however, the process of obtaining such rights can be complicated. This can be especially true if the father is unmarried or not listed on the child’s birth certificate. Unfortunately, many fathers have found themselves facing opposition from a mother who is unwilling to cooperate with visitation requests. The result can be expensive court costs and a lot of emotional stress for both parents involved.

A child custody lawyer can provide invaluable help and legal counsel to fathers fighting for their visitation rights. An experienced attorney can review all available documentation such as court orders, birth certificates, and divorce paperwork to ensure that all legal requirements are being met. They can also provide advice regarding any necessary steps needed to establish and enforce visitation rights including how to navigate the complexities of family law regulations. Furthermore, a child support lawyer will be able to argue against any opposition presented by the other parent with the best interests of their client in mind.

Married Fathers

Married fathers and unmarried fathers have different legal rights when it comes to their children. A married father is the biological father of the child, presumed to be so by law. The husband and wife sign an acknowledgment of paternity which is then included in their birth certificate as proof thereof. This means that a married father has legal rights to the child, including custody, visitation, and other parental responsibilities. Since Arizona law regards fathers with equal legal opportunities during a divorce, married fathers start with that advantage when deciding custody and visitation rights. Below is a more in-depth explanation of the aspects married fathers need to understand.

Presumption of Paternity

In Arizona family law, the presumption of paternity means that any child born to a married couple is assumed to be the biological offspring of both parents. The law presumes the husband to be the legal father of the child and therefore establishes his paternity. This means that the father has an equal share in important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing like education, medical treatment, and more which is maintained in the case of divorce.

Equal Rights Under The Law

Under Arizona Family Law, fathers have the same rights as mothers when it comes to matters of custody and parenting time. No longer is there a default and automatic ‘tender years doctrine’ that grants primary custody to the mother. Instead, both parents are now seen as equal in terms of their parental rights and responsibilities regarding the welfare of their children during a divorce. If there is an objection to split parenting time, then the court will weigh the arguments from both parties and award a decision based on the child’s best interest.

Unmarried Fathers

An unmarried father in Arizona is defined as a man who has not legally married the mother of his child. According to Arizona family law, such a father has no automatic parental rights unless paternity is established. Establishing paternity is done through voluntary acknowledgment or a court-ordered paternity test. Paternity testing is typically done for custody disputes, adoption proceedings, or determining the legal father’s responsibility for child support payments. Once paternity is established, an unmarried father may be granted certain parental rights including visitation and the ability to make decisions about their child’s education, health care, or religion. If you are an unmarried father worried about your visitation rights it is important to keep the following in mind:

Need To Establish Paternity

In Arizona, unmarried fathers must establish paternity to pursue visitation rights with their children. Without a legal declaration of paternity, the father has no standing in court and his relationship with his child is not recognized. Establishing paternity ensures that both parents have a constitutionally protected right to a meaningful relationship with their child, as well as access to important information such as medical records and inheritance rights. It also provides the legal basis for providing financial support for the child by establishing parental responsibilities.

Paternity Without Custody

Under Arizona Law, an unmarried father who has established paternity but not custody may have limited visitation rights to their child. The mother remains the legal custodian and can determine the father’s access to the child. In some cases, the mother may voluntarily agree to a visitation schedule or even joint custody with the father.

Paternity And Custody

Unmarried fathers who gain paternity and custody have the same rights as married fathers when it comes to visitation with their kids. Courts will determine visitation schedules by taking into consideration the health and safety of the child, as well as providing parents with meaningful access to their children. Paternity rights also extend to other parental rights such as decision-making authority on issues related to health care, education, religion, and extracurricular activities.

Child Support and Visitation Rights

Child support is an obligation that a parent has to financially support their child until they turn 18. It is based on each parent’s income, the amount of parenting time granted by the court or parenting plan, and costs for childcare, health insurance, and any special needs for the child.

The purpose of child support is to ensure that the child has financial stability throughout their childhood and adolescence regardless of whether the non-custodial parent visits them or not. What is a non-custodial parent? A non-custodial parent is a parent who does not have physical custody of his or her minor child as the result of a court order. In some cases where non-custodial parents have lost visitation rights due to circumstances, they are still required to pay child support. While it is possible for only one party to have responsibility for both visitation rights and financial support, this outcome is rare as both parents should be involved in providing care for their children.

A father helps braid his daughter's hair.

Child Custody Lawyers In Flagstaff

In Arizona, fathers have an equal legal opportunity for child custody and visitation rights. The process of obtaining such rights can be complicated, though. Fortunately, Antol & Sherman is the top family law practitioner available in Flagstaff to provide invaluable help and legal counsel. They specialize in reviewing any and all available documentation such as court orders, birth certificates, and divorce paperwork to ensure that all legal requirements are being met. Besides providing advice regarding necessary steps needed to establish and enforce visitation rights, Antol & Sherman goes above and beyond by helping clients navigate the complexities of family law regulations. With years of experience working with families involved in visitation disputes, they understand the importance of ensuring that children have meaningful relationships with both parents. If you are ready to fight for your and your child’s best interests, then contact us today!

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