Paternity Claims Lawyers Serving the St. Louis Area
At Raza & Jones, LLC, we provide compassionate, effective legal representation for men and women in paternity claims in St. Louis, Missouri.
Paternity matters are often emotionally-charged for all parties involved. Paternity has numerous important implications – including with respect to custody, visitation, and child support – and whether you are seeking to establish or refute paternity, it is important to make sure that you fully understand the laws, processes, and procedures involved.
At Raza & Jones, LLC, we represent both men and women in paternity claims in the St. Louis, MO area. Our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience in paternity claims and other complex family law matters. We are committed to providing compassionate and practical legal representation for our clients. If you need help establishing or refuting paternity in Missouri, contact us for a confidential consultation today.
Establishing Paternity in Missouri
In Missouri, there are several situations in which a man is legally presumed to be a child’s father. These are rebuttable presumptions – meaning that they do not conclusively establish paternity – and in appropriate cases, these presumptions can be challenged in court.
If none of the presumptions apply, there are two primary methods for establishing paternity. These are: (i) by mutual consent of the mother and father in an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity, and (ii) by filing a contested paternity claim in court. In a contested claim, paternity will generally be established through genetic testing.
In some situations, spouses or former spouses may need to refute the presumption of paternity that arises when a child is born during or within 300 days after the parties’ marriage. In other situations, unmarried partners may disagree over paternal rights and responsibilities.
In these cases, either party can challenge paternity in court. While establishing paternity requires proof by a preponderance of the evidence (in other words, it simply must be more likely than not that the man is the child’s father), rebutting the presumption of paternity requires proof by clear and convincing evidence. This is a much higher standard, though it can also be satisfied through genetic testing.
More Information About Paternity Claims in Missouri
Genetic Testing for Paternity
In Missouri, the genetic test to establish or disprove paternity is a non-invasive procedure. It involves obtaining tissue samples from the child, the mother, and the putative father, typically by a swabbing the inside of the cheek. The samples are then sent to a lab for testing. If the results reveal at least a 98 percent probability that the man is the child’s father, then he is presumed to be the father under Missouri law.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity can have numerous important benefits for both the father and the child. Along with providing the child with a sense of identity, establishing parentage has also been shown to benefit the child’s well-being. Once paternity has been established, fathers can also seek custody and visitation rights under Missouri law.
Paternity and Child Support
In Missouri, all parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children. By establishing paternity, a child’s mother can ensure that she and the child receive the support to which they are legally entitled. For a man who is incorrectly presumed to be a child’s father, disproving paternity will prevent an obligation to provide financial support for someone else’s child.
Paternity and Children Born Out of Wedlock
If the man who you believe is your child’s father refuses to submit to genetic testing, we can help you go to court to obtain an order compelling the test. If genetic testing establishes paternity, then we can help you seek appropriate orders for child support, custody, and visitation rights as well.
Speak with a St. Louis, MO Paternity Lawyer at Raza & Jones, LLC
If you have questions about establishing or challenging paternity in Missouri, or if you need help enforcing paternal rights or obligations, we encourage you to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Call Raza & Jones, LLC at (314) 449-8830 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation today.