Before Arizona parents are able to obtain a child support order, the relationship between the parents and the child must be established first. Maternity is established when the woman gives birth to the child. Paternity can be acknowledged in multiple ways.
If the parents of a child are married when the child is born, the husband is automatically assumed to be father of the children. However, if the parents are not married when the child is born, it will be necessary for them to complete a document that acknowledges the child's paternity. The parents can complete this form in the hospital at the time of the child's birth, or they can visit their local Vital Statistics Registrar or Child Support Enforcement Agency to complete the form.
The paternity of a child may sometimes be in dispute or in doubt. In either case, a genetic testing request can be made to the CSEA by either parent to confirm paternity. The CSEA will instruct all parties involved to participate in the testing. Parents who do not submit themselves to be tested or who do not make their children available for testing will be held in contempt and forced to comply.
After the results from the genetic test have been obtained, an administrative paternity order will be issued. The test must show that there is a 99 percent likelihood that the male subject is the father. Once the paternity of the child has been established, a support hearing will be held to arrange a child support order.
An attorney who practices family law may work to help clients resolve disputes regarding financial support issues, such as those related to child support. Counsel may be provided regarding a client's legal options for establishing a child support arrangement or making modifications to existing child support orders.