Paternity suits are initiated for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the father denies paternity and the mother pursues a paternity case to prove parenthood. In other cases, the father may file the paternity suit. He may wish to establish paternity to gain certain rights such as visitation or custody. The child’s rights are also considered during paternity cases. If the father is identified, the child has rights to medical benefits, life insurance policies and inheritances. The child may also be eligible to receive veteran’s and social security benefits.
Family law attorneys are often hired by both parties during the course of a paternity suit. The mother may hire the attorney to help her gain child support after paternity is established. The father may employ a family law attorney to gain access to the child or to protest a paternity suit brought by the mother.
If a paternity suit is contested, the matter is generally resolved in court based on the evidence available. The father participates in genetic testing to determine the likelihood of paternity. These tests, often DNA tests, are advanced and can generally provide the court with enough information to make a paternity ruling. The State of Arizona initially pays for the testing and the potential father signs an agreement to pay for the testing after the fact if he proves to be the father. Genetic testing can provide the parties with a probability of paternity which can establish the legal presumption of paternity. The threshold in Arizona is 95 percent likelihood.
The mother can employ a family law attorney to establish paternity even if the father does not live in the same geographic area. If the paternity is established in another state, it is considered in effect in Arizona. If the mother is not sure who the father is, the family law attorney can assist her in identifying the parent. First, the mother identifies the most likely father and the man is tested. If he does not prove to be the child’s father, then the mother works with her family law attorney to identify other potential candidates for testing.