If a single man fathers a child, in most cases, he is not automatically assumed to be the child’s father. An experienced paternity lawyer can support and counsel a father as he explores his options for establishing paternity.
An Experienced Paternity Lawyer Can Help You with a Paternity Affidavit
A paternity affidavit is typically the simplest way for a father to establish paternity.
If both the mother and the father choose to sign the paternity affidavit, there is no need for other legal matters or any type of genetic testing.
Paternity affidavits are straightforward. Affidavits can be provided by the hospital when the child is born. The affidavit must be filled out and signed by both the mother and the father.
When the affidavit is filed, the father cements his rights and responsibilities.
There are many reasons a paternity affidavit may not be able to be completed at the hospital.
Fathers can get paternal affidavits through the Vital Records Bureau of the Department of Health and Senior Services. The Family Support Division will also assist fathers with obtaining and filing an affidavit acknowledging paternity.
Legal Actions for Establishing Paternity
Many factors can cause paternity issues to become complicated and daunting. If the mother and father are not able to successfully complete and file an affidavit, the father can choose to take legal actions to secure his rights through the Missouri court system.
Unwed fathers have the option of having a judge hear their case and make a decision in regards to their rights as a father.
In some cases, the judge may decide there is a need for genetic testing to establish the father’s rights. The process of completing a genetic test may seem overwhelming to many fathers. However, there are state agencies that can provide assistance with the process.
Parents may get assistance with genetic testing from the family support division. Often times, the cost of the test is covered by the state of Missouri. The testing process can be as simple as swabbing the inside of the cheek to obtain a DNA sample.
Protection Against Adoption
if a father has not been able to establish legal paternity we recommend he submit his information to the Putative Father Registry. The registry will ensure the father will have the opportunity to provide his consent before the child is adopted.
Having your information on the registry is not a substitute for paternity. We often advise fathers to submit their information to the registry if the mother refuses to sign a paternity affidavit, if they are not able to contact the mother, or if they are concerned their child might be adopted without their knowledge or permission.
Why Should a Father Have an Experienced Paternity Lawyer?
It can be challenging and overwhelming for fathers to establish paternity. This is especially true if the mother is not willing to sign an affidavit.
The Kathleen E Shaul team is here to provide support and guidance for fathers seeking to establish paternity. We are experienced and able to ensure your rights as a father are respected and protected.