St. Louis Paternity Lawyer
Establishing the paternity of a child is an important part of a father’s ability to exercise his parental rights. Only legally acknowledged fathers can exercise custody or visitation rights. Additionally, mothers may have a more difficult time obtaining child support from men who are not the legal fathers of their children.
Paternity can be established by having a child while married, through a voluntary written acknowledgment, or through a family court case. A St. Louis paternity lawyer can help you establish your paternal rights. One of our steadfast family law advisors can also help you refute demands for child support.
What Rights and Obligations Do Fathers Have?
Missouri Revised Statutes §452.340 requires that every father is responsible for financially supporting his children. Fathers with legally valid paternity have the right to request custody access of a child, demand financial support from their child’s mother, and play a role in their child’s upbringing. Mothers may wish to establish paternity to set forth a custody schedule and determine child support.
For these reasons, you may find it beneficial to work with an attorney when obtaining a proper acknowledgment of your paternity or disputing or requesting a demand for child support. A St. Louis attorney can provide more information about the legal effects that a finding of paternity can have on all members of your family.
Methods for Identifying a Child’s Father
State law gives both parents equal rights over their children. However, it is essential for the Court to properly identify the child’s father in order to grant him paternal rights.
MO Rev. Stat. §210.822 assumes a father’s paternity when the child is born to married parents. However, either parent may challenge this presumption.
Another way to establish paternity is for both parents to acknowledge in written form the father’s paternal relationship to his child. Using the affidavit acknowledgment form, parents who do not fit into the presumptive categories can identify a man as the father of their child.
Finally, either parent may ask a family Court to evaluate and issue a decision on the paternity of a child. Under MO Rev. Stat. §210.826, courts will consider a variety of factors when determining whether a man shares a paternal relationship with the child in question, including:
- Evidence of sexual relations between the man and woman
- An expert’s opinion on the duration of the mother’s pregnancy
- Blood test results
- Other medical evidence
A lawyer in St. Louis can help you pursue a claim in family court that either affirms or refutes your alleged paternity.
Call a St. Louis Paternity Attorney Today
A child has a right to receive support and protection from both of their parents. An important part of a determining support obligations is establishing the paternity of the child’s father. The law presumes fatherhood in many circumstances, and both parents can voluntarily acknowledge their paternal roles.
Otherwise, it may be necessary to ask the Court to determine paternity if both parties do not accept the identity of a potential father. A St. Louis paternity lawyer can help you protect your rights as a father or refute a mother’s child support demands. Contact an experienced legal ally from our team today to get started.