What Is The Process of Child Custody And Paternity In Arizona? | Custody Lawyer
December 19, 2015
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL TIMELINE TO SETTLE ON A CHILD CUSTODY AGREEMENT IN AZ?
Settlements are strongly encouraged, but only in cases where the settlement is reasonable to the client. If things can be settled early in the case and the client is happy about the proposal, then their attorney should push hard to get the case resolved immediately. However, many of the cases do not settle because they are very high-conflict cases in which the other side is being unreasonable. The attorney will still try to settle in those cases and use the evidence of the settlement proposal against them when the client wins the case and requests reimbursement of attorney’s fees.
Some cases settle when the other side sees how much evidence has been amassed against them. During the course of a custody case, both sides are required to exchange certain financial documents and other information. In addition, other documentation a copies of financial records is requested during the “discovery” phase of the case. This information is requested directly from the other party and also by subpoena where appropriate. The other party’s deposition may also be taken.
A deposition is a proceeding at the attorney’s office where a court reporter is present and the other party is required to answer a barrage of questions thrown at her by the attorney in order to find out what she is going to say in court. This also allows the attorney to have a document with which to impeach her during cross-examination if she changes her story in the courtroom.
During discovery and after depositions, the attorney often obtains plenty of negative evidence against the other side. This evidence sometimes helps provide leverage for settlement. Other times, it does not, because the other side has nothing to lose by going to court and taking her chances in front of a judge. However, if she does that after refusing a reasonable settlement offer from the other party, the odds are increased that the judge will order her to pay part or all of the other party’s legal fees and costs.
Most divorce and custody cases are resolved in under a year. However, high-conflict cases can drag on for two years, or in rare instances, even longer. If you have an uncontested case – meaning there is no dispute on any issue – the case can be resolved in as little as 61 days (measured from date of service of process) in divorce cases or even sooner in custody cases.
How Is Legal Paternity Established In Arizona?
In Arizona, paternity can be established in a number of ways. One way is if the father signs an acknowledgement of paternity. However, it is not recommended that fathers sign one of those documents unless they have already taken a DNA test to confirm biological paternity. The consequences of signing a document like this can be severe. If the person is not really the biological father, and if he signs an acknowledgement of paternity, after a relatively short period of time, his ability to reverse the legal establishment of paternity may be forever lost. This means he could be financially obligated to pay the mother for many years even though another man is the biological father of her child.
DNA test kits can be purchased at many pharmacies. Although these test kits will not hold up in court because there is no way to prevent tampering, at least the man himself will know whether or not he is the father. The test can also be done again formally by filing a paternity case and requesting genetic testing. Either way, whether you choose to do an informal test and then a formal one, or going straight to the formal test, testing is critical to verify paternity. Only the mother knows for sure whether she slept with anyone other than the man who thinks he is the father. It is important for fathers to set aside their pride and obtain genetic testing to ensure that they are not being duped by a financial parasite.
Another way of establishing paternity is to sign the child’s birth certificate. Again, extreme caution needs to be exercised if a man thinks he is the father. He should first confirm by DNA testing whether or not he really is the father. A major trap for fathers is to think that because the child looks like him, then he must be the father. This is a dangerous assumption. It is a very crude way of assessing paternity and is susceptible to our own emotional biases.
A third way of establishing paternity in Arizona is to file a paternity case and admit in the case that you are the father. Again, this should not be done unless proper genetic testing shows that you really are the father. If the couple is married, there is a presumption that he is the biological father of the child. This is a delicate topic which must be raised. The man who thinks he is the father, even if he is married, may want to consider a discreet DNA test if he has even the slightest doubt about whether he is the father. Marital infidelity is rampant in our society.
This will be a difficult thing to admit to oneself, because many men are proud and are reluctant to think that their sweetie may have cheated on them. However, research shows that roughly 30 to 60 percent of married individuals in the United States will engage in infidelity at some point in their marriage and approximately two to three percent of all children are the product of infidelity. Men need to set aside their pride and make sure they are not being duped. There is also the topic of paternity fraud and Attorney Ronald Thomas has successfully handled a number of those cases. Those are hard to prove and therefore, men are advised to get tested before they admit to paternity. If a person finds out that he is not the father, and if he has been financially supporting that child, he may have rights to reimbursement and damages. He should seek legal advice immediately.
If you need help with the Process of Child Custody And Paternity In Arizona, call Thomas Law Office, PLC for an initial consultation and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.
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