On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Fathers’ Rights on Friday, October 2, 2015.
Paternity is the establishment of a child’s legal father. It is important — especially for unmarried couples — to establish this status because in general, a child is not considered to have a father if the couple is not married. There are many reasons why you should make sure this process is undertaken, not the least of which is protecting your paternal rights.
The state of Missouri offers many benefits to fathers who establish their paternity. Your name as the father will be placed on your child’s birth certificate, which allows you to enroll your child in any healthcare coverage you may have. Your child can also collect benefits for Social Security or any Veteran status should you suffer death or a disability.
Finally, and often most importantly, if the need arises, you have a legal claim to custody, support and visitation. While the parents can agree on this regardless of paternity being established, if you have to fight for custody rights you will need this information on file.
You can establish paternity any time after your child’s birth. To initiate the process you complete an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. If the mother does not agree, you can file a court action to do so.
If there is any uncertainty as to whether you are the father, you can take a paternity test through the state Department of Family Services. This involves a basic DNA test from a cheek swab from both potential parents and the child.
If you are facing issues regarding your paternal rights and aren’t sure what to do, a family law attorney may be able to help. They may be able to provide more information and insight into your unique situation.