Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: All, I have a 3 yrs old boy that was born when I was 24 and his mom was 16; I'm 28 now and she is 19. I pay her a weekly amount for child support (casual arrangement, have notarized letter with terms), and we had a verbal agreement that I would take him Fri night-Sun night and every other Wednesday. We got into an argument and now she will not let me see my boy; I have been a part of his life since the beginning. Can I take her to court to make custody and support legal? Will her being a 16 yr old mother be reason for criminal charges? Thanks in advance.

Answer:

 Any biological father of a child has the statutory right under Arizona law to apply for a finding of paternity. That law can be found at A.R.S. § 25-803. Several other laws in that same section of the code book explain the process by which a father may involve himself in the life of his minor child.

A father who applies for a finding of paternity has the right to ask the court for custody and parenting time as provided in A.R.S. § 25-408. Of course, such a father may also be required to pay child support, depending on the level of custody and parenting time he receives after a court hearing. A biological father may also voluntarily ackonwledge his paternity. (A.R.S. § 25-812).

As for the criminal charges ARS 13-405 says the following on the subject:

ARS 13-405  Sexual contact with a minor, classifications, definitions

A. A person commits sexual conduct with a minor by intentionally or knowingly engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person who is under eighteen years of age.

B. Sexual conduct with a minor who is under fifteen years of age is a class 2 felony and is punishable pursuant to section 13-705. Sexual conduct with a minor who is at least fifteen years of age is a class 6 felony. Sexual conduct with a minor who is at least fifteen years of age is a class 2 felony if the person is the minor's parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, foster parent or the minor's teacher or clergyman or priest and the convicted person is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis except as specifically authorized by section 31-233, subsection A or B until the sentence imposed has been served or commuted.

C. For the purposes of this section, "teacher" means a certificated teacher as defined in section 15-501 or any other person who directly provides academic instruction to pupils in any school district, charter school, accommodation school, the Arizona state schools for the deaf and the blind or a private school in this state

Information about sentencing can be found under ARS 13-701.  Sentincing for a first time offender can be found under ARS 13-702. Sentencing for repeat offenders can be found under ARS 13-703.

Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • All, I have a 3 yrs old boy that was born when I was 24 and his mom was 16; I'm 28 now and she is 19. I pay her a weekly amount for child support (casual arrangement, have notarized letter with terms), and we had a verbal agreement that I would take him Fri night-Sun night and every other Wednesday. We got into an argument and now she will not let me see my boy; I have been a part of his life since the beginning. Can I take her to court to make custody and support legal? Will her being a 16 yr old mother be reason for criminal charges? Thanks in advance.

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