Both parents of a child have the right to build a relationship with the child unless circumstances are such that those parental rights are terminated. When there's a question about paternity, this poses a significant problem because with paternity, not only is there the right to build a relationship with the child, but there are also obligations that must be met.
At FINK LAW FIRM KC, our family law lawyer in Missouri represents both mothers and fathers when paternity is questioned and needs to be established. We use our knowledge and resources to handle delicate paternity cases that render results as quickly and as smoothly as possible. Contact us online or at (816) 505-1111 to schedule a Free Initial Consultation.
Establishing and Contesting Paternity in Missouri?
You might assume that the ability to determine paternity by a simple cheek swab has simplified the process of paternity and eliminated most cases where paternity is contested. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and paternity establishment can still be quite complicated.
Uncontested Establishment of Paternity
When a child is born to two people that are married to one another, the parties are considered to be the legal parents of the child. Most jurisdictions also maintain that paternity is established when the father acknowledges it in writing, the father resides with the mother and openly claims the child as his own, and when the father is obligated to support the child either by court order or a voluntary agreement.
Contested Establishment of Paternity
How paternity is established when it is contested depends upon the particular circumstances of the situation and the laws of your jurisdiction. For example, is the child born out of wedlock? Is there already an order in place that establishes paternity? These are all issues that must be considered when paternity is contested.
Title IV-D Agencies
Title IV Section D of the Social Security Act is commonly known as the Child Support Enforcement Program. All states are required to have a program that adheres to the terms of this act, which not only handles the establishment and enforcement of child support, but also the establishment of paternity (in some cases). This is a resource available to parties that want to establish paternity.
Putative Father Registry
If a man believes it is possible he has fathered a child, many states have a putative father registry where he can indicate his intention to claim paternity. This will provide the father with certain rights, such as notification of any court proceedings that involve the child, actions to terminate parental rights, and petitions for adoption.
Paternity and Deceased Fathers
In most states paternity is considered established when the father was married to the mother before his death and the child was born prior to, or within a certain time frame after, his death. When the mother and father were not married prior to his death, it may be possible to establish paternity through DNA testing of close family members.
Effect of Paternity Determination in Missouri
After paternity has been established by a court, it is no simple matter to have that decision reversed in most jurisdictions. It is a matter that will need to be heard by a judge. However, establishing paternity is important for many reasons. Without it, the father has no legal rights to the child, such as a right to custody or visitation or decision-making about the child's upbringing.
Further, with paternity established, the mother can exercise relevant legal rights, like:
- Petition for child support, where the state requires the legal establishment of paternity and also ensures that fathers share the burden of supporting their children
- Apply for state support, where programs require the establishment of paternity before mothers can apply for benefits like food, housing, and healthcare
- Obtain insurance, where the insurer requires legal paternity to list a child on a policy
What's more, with paternity established, the child benefits by being able to build relationships with both parents.
Why Should I Hire a Paternity Attorney in Clay or Platte County?
Paternity can be difficult to establish under certain circumstances, such as when the mother is married to someone else or another person's name is on the birth certificate. In these situations, the court will need to become involved, and a paternity attorney will know the steps to take to ensure paternity is established properly.
Contact a Paternity Lawyer in Missouri Today
Establish paternity today. Whether you are the alleged father or the mother, making sure paternity is established offers many benefits as much as it provides clarity. Contact our office today either by using our online form or calling us directly at (816) 505-1111.