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Filing a paternity case to establish father's rights

Fathers in Missouri who were not married when their child was born will need to file a petition to establish paternity to enjoy the same rights as fathers who were married to a child's mother when the child was born. This is true even if a father's name is on the birth certificate and there is no doubt that he is the father of the child.

A father who wants to establish his paternity rights will either need to take a DNA test to prove that he is the biological father, or both he and the biological mother can sign an affidavit acknowledging paternity. Signing an acknowledgement and obtaining a court order is the fastest way to establish paternity.

After paternity has been established, the father will have the same rights as any other parent. This includes visitation with the child. A petition to establish paternity may be filed by either the biological father or the biological mother. After paternity has been established, fathers should expect to be ordered to pay child support.

An attorney experienced in family law may be able to help parents who want to establish paternity. An unwed mother may need to file a petition to establish paternity in order to start receiving child support, for example. Paternity must be established before a judge can make a determination regarding visitation and custody issues.

Even if there has been no order establishing an obligation to pay child support, fathers who want to file a paternity case later should support their children and keep proof of all payments since a judge could later award back child support to the mother.

A father's rights attorney may be able to help fathers obtain custody of their children. After paternity has been established with a DNA test or signed acknowledgement, a judge will make a determination regarding which parent should have full custody of the child based on the best interests of the child.

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Other Office Locations

  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
  • West County: 16024 Manchester Rd., Suite 103, Ellisville, MO 63011: Ellisville Office
  • Jackson County: 256 NE Tudor Rd., Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086: Lee's Summit Office
  • Jefferson County: 16 Municipal Drive, Suite C, Arnold, MO 63010: Arnold Office
  • St. Charles County: 2268 Bluestone Drive, St. Charles, MO 63303: St. Charles Office
  • Franklin County: 5 S. Oak St. Union, MO 63084: Union Office
  • Lincoln County: 20 Centerline Drive, Troy, Missouri 63379: Troy Office
  • Boone County: 1506 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite H, Columbia, MO 65203: Columbia Office
  • Greene County: 901 E. St. Louis, Suite 404, Springfield, Missouri 65806 Springfield, MO Office
  • St. Clair County: 115 Lincoln Place Ct., Ste. 101, Belleville, IL 62221: Belleville Office
  • Madison County: 5 Club Centre Ct., Suite A, Edwardsville, Illinois 62025: Edwardsville Office
  • Sangamon County: 400 S. 9th St., Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701: Springfield Office
  • McLean County: 1012 Ekstam Drive, Suite 4, Bloomington, IL 61704: Bloomington Office
  • Johnson County: 7300 West 110th Street, Suite 560, Overland Park, KS 62210: Overland Park Office
  • Sedgwick County: 2024 N. Woodlawn Street, Suite 407, Wichita, Kansas 67208: Wichita Office
  • Monroe County: 116 W. Mill St., Waterloo, IL 62298 (by appt. only): Waterloo Office
  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
  • Jackson County: 2300 Main St., #948, Kansas City, MO 64108 (by appt. only): Kansas City Office

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