Fathers’ Rights & Paternity in Missouri

Everyone knows that fathers play an important role in the wellbeing, development, and happiness of their children. In our modern age, many fathers have taken on a much more intensive role as parents than in previous decades. Back in the 1950’s and earlier, mothers were viewed as the traditional caretakers of children while fathers brought home the financial resources for the family. In today’s society, fathers commonly partake in all aspects of child-rearing from changing diapers to teaching their children how to ride a bike or hit a baseball to providing discipline or life guidance.

In the above scenarios of this century, a father has all the rights and privileges of parenthood due to the fact that his is or was married to his child’s mother. Those rights and privileges are not automatic for fathers whose children are born without the benefit of a legal marriage. In such cases, if you do not take steps to ensure that you are legally recognized as the father of your child, you will not have the right to be involved in your child’s life. You will be unable to enforce any kind of custody or visitation rights.

Want to establish your legal rights as your child’s father in St. Louis? Kallen Law Firm, LLC can help. Contact us at (314) 441-7793 to discuss the matter in a free case review.

How Paternity is Established for Child Custody, Visitation & Support?

When an unwed mother gives birth to a child, she is automatically viewed in the eyes of the law as the child’s biological parent. The father’s biological father, however, must establish his paternity as the legal father through a various ways.

At the time of the birth, the parents can sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity at the hospital where the child is born. This legal document declares the paternity of the father whose name is then put on the baby’s birth certificate.

If the above Affidavit is not done, the biological father has no legal rights. However, he can establish these rights later through a paternity case filed with a state court. This is done by petition with the paperwork being served on the mother who has 30 days to respond. Paternity can then be established through mutual agreement between both biological parents or it can be established by DNA testing or through other evidence. The DNA testing must be done through a court-approved facility. Once it is established that the father is the biological parent of the child, he can then pursue custody and visitation rights. He will also be responsible for providing financial child support for the child if he and the child’s mother do not live together.

Unmarried Mothers Who Wish to Obtain Child Support

The issue of needed child support also arises for mothers who have children when unmarried. These mothers also have the option of initiating a paternity action through the courts. If the father contests the action, it can be settled through DNA blood testing. The court in such cases would hear evidence that can involve both the likelihood of paternity based on the DNA evidence as well as any other relevant evidence. If the indicated father refuses to submit to the blood test, he may be penalized by the court or the court may find for a default judgment against him. Such a default would make him the legal father and thus responsible for child support.

Do You Need Help to Establish Parenthood?

Whether you are a father or a mother seeking to establish paternity for child support or child custody and visitation rights in the greater St. Louis area, you can turn to Kallen Law, Firm, LLC. Our firm’s seasoned litigators have more than 45 years of collective family law experience that can be used on your behalf. We have a proven track record of successful results that is reflected in our many testimonials and referrals. Our legal team has helped thousands of individuals with family law issues of all kinds and complexity from divorce to custody and more. We welcome the opportunity to apply our skills, knowledge, and client compassion to working hard to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Need skilled legal guidance or advocacy in St. Louis? Call us at (314) 441-7793 to begin today.