San Tan Valley, AZ asked in Family Law for Arizona

Q: I'm 30, and 10 years ago I found out that my mother knowingly committed paternity fraud

My mother knowingly put the wrong man on my AZ birth cert. My "father" did not know about this, but does not intend to pursue any action, and does not mind staying on my birth cert. For 10 years I have attempted to figure out who my bio father is using DNA testing, since my mother will not tell me. My question is-If I find out who my bio father is and make contact, is there any legal damage he can do? I am not referring to damage towards my mother (I do not care), I am more concerned about if he can petition to have my birth cert changed to reflect his name or anything else? Is there anything else I need to be aware of? I am a 2nd year law student and I have yet to hear about any paternity fraud cases, and I do not want to speak to anyone that I know about this matter.

If it helps, I was born in AZ and conceived in AR. At the time, AR did not have any law that stated that "having sex is considered enough notice" when the father tries to claim he did not know about a pregnancy.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Stephen M Vincent
Stephen M Vincent
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: I'm not aware of any case like yours nor could I find any when I searched on Westlaw. I believe, though, that your situation would be governed by A.R.S. 25-803, which determines who has standing to bring a paternity action. 803(A) lists who can bring a paternity claim for a child, but 803(B) reads, "An adult may bring an action to establish the adult's biological parent." This is the only mention of an adult in the standing statute.

The way I read it, only you have standing to challenge paternity now that you're an adult. Again, I wasn't able to find any case law on this, so I'm not sure if the Court would interpret it similarly. Nevertheless, I think it's unlikely he would be able to get onto your birth certificate.

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