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Family Law

Crimes can be stressful and hard on families. You can find information here about steps you can take to address common family law issues as well as information about services that can help you.

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Some crime victims may need financial help for their children, and protection for themselves and their children. If the parents were not married when the child was born, paternity must be established before it is possible to ask for child support or legal decision-making and parenting time orders.
Paternity determines the legal father of a child when the parents are not married. Unmarried parents often establish paternity by signing an Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital when a child is born.

Once paternity is established, parents can request family court orders for legal decision-making, parenting time, child support, and other issues involving the children.

How is paternity established?

Paternity can be established in Arizona by presumption, voluntary acknowledgment, or in court.


Paternity is ‘presumed’ if:
  • The father was married to the mother during the 10 months before the child’s birth,
  • DNA results show a 95% match,
  • The parents are unmarried and both sign the birth certificate, or
  • The parents are unmarried and both sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.

Voluntary Acknowledgment

Both parents (either separately or together) agree, in writing, on the father’s identity. A statement called a “Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity” then needs to be filled out and notarized. The completed “Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity” must be turned in to either the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It is best to attach this completed “Voluntary Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity” form to your Petition.


The father, mother, guardian, or conservator can ask the court to establish paternity. This is done through the filing of a Petition to Establish Paternity.

How do I file for paternity?

To request a court order on paternity, a petition must be submitted to the court by the biological parents or those with legal custody of the child. Sample petitions for paternity can be found on the court’s website.
Each superior court may have specific forms they require or directions for filing. To find your superior court, click here.

Family Resources and Help