Establishing paternity is important for mothers, fathers, and their children. Fathers may seek to establish paternity for the sake of acquiring visitation and parenting rights. Mothers may seek to establish paternity to begin the process for child support as well as establishing a relationship between a child and natural father.
Visitation and Parenting Rights
In most cases, an unmarried father must establish paternity before they can assume any visitation or parental rights. If you are an unmarried father who is seeking to have ongoing, meaningful, interactions with your biological children, it is important that you establish paternity. In some cases, having the mother of the child sign an affidavit acknowledging that you are the biological father is enough, but in other cases it may be necessary to have a DNA test performed to establish paternity.
If an unmarried mother or a married mother who believes she has had a child from someone other than her husband wishes to seek child support, she will need to establish the paternity of the biological father. If the biological father accepts responsibility, both parents can sign an affidavit to this effect. If the father does not accept responsibility, it may be necessary to have the court order a paternity test as part of the child support proceedings.
Once paternity has been established, the mother can pursue child support. The amount of support will most likely be calculated using “Form No. 14 Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet.” Form 14 calculates child support based on the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, the cost of health care for the child, the number of children being supported, and the gross income of each parent.
Paternity can be determined in one of two ways. Either both parents can sign an affidavit acknowledging paternity or a paternity test can be conducted. Paternity testing revolves around genetic testing; in the state of Missouri, a blood test is usually not required when establishing paternity, instead a cheek swab will suffice. Such genetic testing is provided for free by the Missouri Department of Social Services Family Support Division.
Family Support Division Involvement
The Family Support Division will get involved in a paternity matter when a mother applies for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or MO HealthNet benefits. The Family Support Division may file a petition asking the court to find paternity of a presumed natural father and establish child support. The Family Support Division may also request the Court to order the natural father to reimburse the State for “state debt” in the amount of TANF payments received for a child. The Family Support Division must be served in court cases involving child support for children receiving TANF benefits.
Extensive Family Law Experience
Chris has extensive experience with family law matters and was awarded the prestigious “Top 40 under 40 Family Lawyers in the State of Missouri” award by the American Society for Legal advocates. He was also selected by the Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers publication as a “rising star” for his experience in family law matters. Chris has the family law experience you need when pursuing a paternity and custody case.
Call Day or Night for a Missouri Paternity Attorney
KC Road Lawyers offers free consultations to individuals dealing with paternity and custody issues. Call 816-738-5725 or navigate to our contact page to find out how KC Road Lawyers can help you with your Missouri paternity and custody issue.