Dealing with family legal matters is never easy, especially when children are involved. Establishing parental rights is crucial in any custody issue, and can even be helpful in issues involving child support payments and adoption issues. Whether you are seeking rights as a father or attempting to gain legal support to obtain child support, proving your child’s paternity is crucial.

Why Establish Paternity?

In the state of Missouri, paternity refers to the legal proof of a biological father-child relationship. Once paternity is established, the father may exercise his right to be involved in his child’s life by way of visitation rights, custody, or other co-parenting plans. Likewise, a mother may prove her child’s paternity in order to establish certain parental responsibilities. In other words, once paternity is established the mother may legally request child support payments from the father. When paternity has been proven, the child may also be entitled to certain benefits from the father, such as health insurance, Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits, an inheritance, and so on.

How To Establish Paternity

Establishing paternity may happen at the time of the child’s birth or anytime thereafter. In the state of Missouri, when a married woman gives birth, her husband is presumed to be the father and is therefore given rights as a father. However, if a child is born outside of wedlock, paternal rights must be established through legal means. If both the mother and father agree, they can sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. In the event that either parent does not agree to establish paternal rights, either parent can petition the court to establish the father’s rights and obligations.

Once the court has been petitioned to establish paternity, a mandatory paternity test may be ordered. At this point, the alleged father will be issued a mandatory DNA test to confirm a biological match to the child. However, in certain circumstances, the court may enact an administrative child support order, which will require the father to make support payments even if the paternity action hasn’t been filed.

If you are interested in establishing paternal rights for your child, either as a mother or a father, you need to speak to a knowledgeable family lawyer. At Smith Law Offices, LLC, our firm can help you fight for child support, secure parental rights, petition for a new custody arrangement, and more. Don’t wait another day to protect your legal rights and secure those of your child.

Contact Smith Law Offices, LLC to discuss your paternity case with our experienced St. Charles family attorneys.

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