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Today, more and more children are being born outside of a marital relationship. While common, it can lead to legal complications. When this occurs, it is necessary for both parents to establish a legal and emotional relationship with the child. This means that legal steps may need to be taken to file a paternity case before a parent can begin to work with another parent on raising that child.

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What Steps to Take Next as a Father

If you are the father of a child born outside of a marriage, it is necessary to file a court action to formally establish that you are the biological father of the child. By doing so, you can obtain rights of custody. Many fathers believe that the act of having their name placed on the child’s birth certificate is sufficient to receive rights of custody, however, this is not the case. In Missouri, a father must file a paternity action with his local court to formally establish his right to have visitation and custody of a child. This means it is important for fathers to act quickly after their child is born so they are not stuck on the sidelines in the early years of their children’ lives.

Important Information for Mothers

If you are the mother of a child born outside of a marriage, it is beneficial to file a court action so that certain legal rights can be formally provided from the father.

The following can be established through proving paternity:

Children also thrive in an environment that provides consistency. By filing a paternity action, a mother can establish a visitation plan that will ensure a consistent schedule for the child, thereby eliminating what can often be constant arguments regarding the child. Mothers often need financial assistance from the father to contribute to the many expenses associated with a young child. Filing paternity action also allows the mother to seek and obtain an order from the court requiring the father to pay child support, as well as contribute to the costs and expenses associated with the prenatal care, birthing, medical care, and overall upbringing of the child.

If you need help filing a paternity action, call the St. Louis family law attorneys at Pedano, O’Shea, McGavic & Hogenmiller, LLC to schedule your free consultation.

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