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The Petition for Paternity/Maternity, Legal Decision Making, Parenting Time and Child Support process is required when the parents of a child or children were never married and no longer live together. (There is no "common" law marriage in Arizona at this time) The documents needed are basically the same as a Divorce or a Legal Separation except that the only issues addressed are Paternity, Maternity, Child Legal Decision Making, Parenting Time for both parents, and Child Support (including issues related to Child Support) and Petitions for Court Orders for Paternity can be final a little bit quicker - about five to six weeks from the day of legal service of the other party - instead of the 60 days for a divorce.

At this time, the mother usually has "automatic" custody until further order of the court. A.R.S. 13-1302 Father usually has no rights unless there is a court order stating such regardless if his name is on the birth certificate. Keep in mind, the mother can put anyone she wants on the birth certificate whether they are the biological Father or not. Simply stated, Father's name on the birth certificate may establish that he is indeed the biological father of the child but it would not give him any rights to see the child.

Child Support can be ordered, usually through the Attorney General's office - Child Support Enforcement without Legal Decision Making or Parenting Time rights being established. (They are only in it for the money and don't care about a parent's relationship with his or her child) Child Support is usually only retroactive three (3) years but also for as long as the parties were not residing together. A.R.S. 25-809

As was stated earlier, the process for a Petition for Court Orders for Paternity is the same as a Divorce. Click for DIVORCE INFORMATION