I need to know if i legally need documentss stating that I am sole guardian or will the lack of the father’s name on the birth certificate be enough?

My son and I live in one state; his father lives in another. I am the sold guardian for my son. His father decided not to have his name listed on the birth certificate and does not have contact with him. Paternity and child support have been established.

Asked on September 18, 2012 under Family Law, Arizona


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Until there is a court order in place saying that you have sole custody of the child, then Father could assert his rights at any time to the child since you mention that paternity and support have already been established-- assuming that it was by a court order.  If there is a court decision/ruling that says he's dad, that will trump the absence of his name from the birth certificate.  If a court has already ordered child support to be paid, then most likely you're already covered and those documents should have named you the managing conservator with the right to designate the residence and general upbring of the child.  If your orders do not include lanaguage to that effect, then you may need to modify those orders.  A unilateral affidavit of guardianship is not sufficient to modify a court order. 

If you want to make sure that the father cannot come by and just pick-up and leave with your child, you really need orders in place that say he cannot.  You may even want to consider an agreed termination if he has no interest in being involved in the child's life.  Termination is a little harder, but courts are sometimes more willing when there is someone will to step up the plate as dad.

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