A paternity action is what one files when they have a child or children with another person who is not his/her spouse. In an Arizona paternity action, the Court will establish who the father of the child/children is. If a parent disputes paternity, he/she can request a DNA test. The Court will also establish custody (whether the parents should share joint custody or one parent should have sole custody), parental access, child support, and the division of any lying in expenses (expenses resulting from the pregnancy and birth). The Court may also award attorney’s fees to a party, based on the reasonableness of the parties’ positions and their relative financial resources.
A paternity action can be resolved amicably through mediation. The parents would attend mediation sessions with a mutually agreeable mediator, who would help the parties reach agreements on the areas of dispute. Both parties voluntarily provide relevant documentation, so calculations (such as child support) can be accurately completed. With a mediated agreement, the parties would simply submit stipulated forms to the Court. They would not have to attend a trial. Most mediations are successful
If parties cannot or do not want to reach agreements, they will have a trial, in which they will put on evidence as to the disputed issues. The Court will do his/her best to issue fair rulings in the best interests of the children. However, trial is risky. It is also often expensive, time consuming and stressful. It is this author’s opinion that mediation is almost always the best alternative.
Alona M. Gottfried is a mediator and attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation or family law, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.
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