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Melissa A. Featherston

Is it important to establish paternity?

Missouri fathers fighting for child custody are already facing a difficult path, especially when dealing with disputes or concerns over paternity. In these types of complex cases, it is especially important to establish paternity in order to achieve the outcome that is desired. There are many ways that paternity is established, and a father will significantly benefit from the assistance of an attorney experienced in complex family law issues. 

When a child is born to a married couple or to an unmarried couple who sign a paternity acknowledgement form, paternity is assumed. It becomes more difficult when the father is not present at birth or is in contention with the mother. If a father wishes to share custody of a child, but is not on the birth certificate, he may pursue certain options in order to establish his legal rights as a father. 

Paternity carries vast legal significance and will impact custody agreements and child support. In fact, the legal father of a child can be compelled to financially support his children after paternity is established. When a father wishes to assert his paternity, he has a legal right to prevent the mother from placing the child up for adoption if she wishes to do so. 

It is important for Missouri fathers to understand that they have certain rights regarding paternity. This includes the right to present evidence to validate his claims as the rightful father of a child. Paternity, when in question, can have a significant impact on a custody case and, thereby, affect the future of a child and his or her relationship with the father.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Significance of Paternity", Dec. 10, 2014

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