St. Louis Paternity Lawyer
Our Family Court Lawyer’s goal is to ensure that children thrive by working to make sure parents have an active role in their child’s life.
You cannot argue the fact that a child that is raised having a healthy relationship with both parents will generally thrive emotionally and mentally. Our goal is to assist parents in helping to ensure that they can have an active role in their child’s life.
We also have a strong belief that men who father children have a responsibility to look out for their child’s well being, despite any bad feelings they might have towards their child’s mother. In these cases we work with single mothers in helping to prove paternity so that they can be provided with any support they might need in raising the child.
What is Paternity?
A child who is born to parents who are not legally married technically does not have a legal male guardian. Paternity is establishing the legal rights and responsibilities of a man to his biological child. This is helpful to the father who wishes to exercise his right to visit or obtain custody of the child. The mother benefits by being able to file a petition for child support. The biggest benefit is to the child, who will now be eligible to receive health care from the father’s insurance, be eligible for social security in the event his father passes away, and have the chance to build a relationship with his own father.
Unmarried Missouri residents who both acknowledge that the man is the biological father of a baby can immediately sign an affidavit at the hospital where the baby is born. Once that affidavit acknowledging paternity is signed by both parties, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate and he becomes the legal father.
If there is a question as to whether a man is the father of a child, a paternity, or DNA test may be performed. We can help in the event that one of the parents does not wish to have the paternity of a child confirmed by assisting you in filing a petition with a St. Louis family court that will compel the opposing party to be compliant.
When Should Paternity be Established?
It is our recommendation as experienced family law attorney’s that paternity be established as soon as possible after the birth to ensure that everyone’s rights in the matter can be recognized. Beyond that, paternity can be established anytime up until the child’s 18th birthday. Before turning 21, a child has the right to pursue his own paternity through the Missouri family court system.
Does It Make any Difference Whose Last Name the Child Uses?
For matters involving child support and visitation, the last name of the child has no bearing. We recommend that an unwed mother who will be maintaining sole custody of her child use her last name on the birth certificate to make things easier on her and the child, especially once he enters school. A child’s name can be changed on his birth certificate when the affidavit acknowledging paternity has been completed. If the parent or parents wish to wait, a court order will be required to change the last name of the child.
Can My Baby Be Adopted Without My Consent?
If you have conceived a child outside of the ties of marriage, and have reason to believe that the mother intends to give the baby over for adoption we can help you ensure that your consent will be required. You will need to file with the Putative Father Registry that you have a strong belief that you are the father of the child. This must be completed no later than 15 days after the baby is born. While it is not a legally binding paternity order, it does put his name on an official record that he believes he may be father. This will make it necessary for the people involved in the adoption of our child to notify you, verify your paternity, and obtain your consent.
Why is Establishing Paternity Important for the Mother?
In order to receive financial support from the father, the father must acknowledge that he is the biological father. We will not be able to file a petition for child support on your behalf until paternity is established. If the father is unwilling, then we will file the necessary paperwork for the courts to compel him to submit to a paternity test.
A legal acknowledgement of paternity is also important for the future of the child. Not only is it important in helping your child build a relationship with their other parent, they will also be legally entitled to any benefits that one of his beneficiaries should receive.
Why is Establishing Paternity Important for the Father?
Even if you are not listed on the child’s birth certificate, as a father you have rights in regards to your child. Allow us to help you establish your paternity in order for you to enforce your right to spend time with your biological child. Only after paternity has been established will a St. Louis family court judge hear your petition for visitation and or custody. We can help you not only obtain the order for a paternity test, but help file the paperwork needed for a visitation petition.
Paternity Lawyer – St. Louis Family Court Attorney
Whether you are a single mother seeking financial support from the biological father, or the dad who is trying to get to know their child, our team of experienced paternity lawyers can help you through every stage of the process. We recognize that this is often a delicate situation between the parents and will work diligently to ensure that the needs of the child are met first and foremost. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a St. Louis Family Court Lawyer.