Mother’s rights are different if you are unmarried or if you are married going through a divorce.
If you are a married mother, you and the child’s father are presumed to have an equal legal right to see the children and participate in major decisions about the children, such as medical treatment, education or religious training. Legal decision-making refers to who makes the major decisions for your children such as health and education.
Married mothers (and married fathers) have joint legal decision-making until a Court says otherwise. The parenting time schedule determines when each parent gets to see the children.
If you are an unmarried mother, and paternity and/or the father’s rights have not yet been established, you have a lot more power than an unmarried father when it comes to your children. You may give the child up for adoption, take the child away from the father, not allow the father to see the child at all or make any other significant decisions all without the father’s consent or permission.
However, once paternity is established and the unmarried father files a Petition to Establish, he may potentially obtain rights to see the child and make decisions regarding the child.
The Statute in Arizona A.R.S. 13-1302. Custodial interference; child born out of wedlock; defenses; classification A. A person commits custodial interference if, knowing or having reason to know that the person has no legal right to do so, the person does one of the following:
In Arizona, if you are an unmarried mother, you don’t have to do anything to gain rights to your child. Unmarried mothers have all of the rights to the child until a Court says otherwise or that unmarried mother agrees with the unmarried father to give him rights to the child.
Once an unmarried father establishes paternity and files a Petition to Establish, he may gain rights to the child. There are a number of ways to establish paternity as the child’s father. The most common, and also the easiest, way is possible when the mother and the father both agree who the father is.
When there is agreement, and both parents are willing to work together, it is just a matter of getting the right paperwork to the right place. The parents can sign an Affidavit of Paternity and file it with the court. The court will also want to know the parenting time and legal decision-making arrangements as well as the child support.