Mandatory Paternity Testing In Arizona
Statistics show that up to 30% of children have a different father than the one listed on their birth certificate. Many men assume that their pregnant wife or girlfriend is carrying their baby. Although they should assume that the child is theirs unless there is an obvious reason to believe otherwise, they should still insist on a DNA test shortly after the child’s birth. Trust, but verify – as the saying goes. DNA testing can be done with a private test kit purchased from a local pharmacy (or private testing company) or through the courts if a paternity case is pending. If the man is married to the pregnant woman, there is a legal presumption that the child is his. But this presumption can be overcome with a DNA test showing that he is actually not the biological father of the baby.
If the man is not married to the woman who gave birth to the child, he should be especially reluctant to sign an Acknowledgement of Paternity before getting a DNA test because in Arizona signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity comes with serious and usually irreversible consequences. There is a very short time window to reverse the Acknowledgement, and after that time period passes, absent clear and convincing evidence of fraud – which requires proving nine different factors to a judge – this poor sap could get stuck supporting another man’s child until that child is an adult. Even if the mother later admits that the child is not his, it won’t matter unless fraud can be proved. A judge simply won’t care. You will be stuck with having to slave away for some other man’s child.
So that is why it is time for mandatory DNA testing in all paternity cases, and optional DNA testing in divorce cases. A form should be made available to men who wish to waive their rights to DNA testing or opt out of DNA testing. But men need to be made aware of the right to get tested in order to verify that they really are the biological parents of the children they are going to be legally obligated to financially support until those children reach adulthood.
The Arizona legislature needs to pass such a bill that would require testing in all cases unless the person waives the right to testing or opts out of testing. Spread the word – call your local legislators and tell them that it is time for a law protecting men from becoming unwitting financial slaves for other men’s children. A woman always knows whether she had intercourse with more than one man during the period when the child was conceived. A man does not always know whether he is the only person the mother slept with during the relevant time period. Many men are too proud or shy to ask for a DNA test. Many don’t even think of DNA testing; they just assume they are the father. But as I indicated above, almost one third of fathers could be wrong about whether they are in fact the biological fathers of the children they are supporting.
Tell all the men in your life about this issue. Tell them to be very careful about acknowledging paternity and fully trusting their mates. Tell others about the need for mandatory DNA testing in paternity cases. Do what you can to protect your grandsons, sons, brothers, cousins, friends, and other men in your life from getting duped into involuntarily financially supporting a child that is not his.