St Louis Paternity Lawyers
Representing Parents in Paternity Cases in Missouri
Many parents have children together without being married, and this can cause some complications with establishing paternity. When two parents are married, the husband is automatically presumed to be the legal father of the child without any further action. If parents are unmarried, however, it will take additional steps to establish fatherhood.
Whether you are a mother seeking child support or a father seeking parenting rights, you should contact a skilled paternity lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Jennifer Rench helps clients in the St. Louis metropolitan area with many types of family and child-related cases. Call J. Rench Law Firm for more information today.
There are many reasons why a parent would want to establish legal paternity. Without a legal finding, an unmarried man will not have the rights and responsibilities of a father. This means he will have no rights to physical or legal child custody and will have no obligation to provide financial support for the child. Some paternity cases arise because a father wants to ensure he can be a part of his child’s life, and others stem from a mother’s need for child support from the father.
Unmarried parents can voluntarily agree to establish paternity by signing an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity. They can sign this at the hospital or obtain the necessary forms at a later date, and the father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. The father will then have all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent.
If one parent disagrees about paternity, the person asserting paternity will need to petition the court to establish paternity. Often, the court will require a DNA test but can also consider other factors. If the court finds that a man is the child’s father, it will issue an order establishing legal paternity.
Child Custody and Support
Establishing paternity is only the first part of this type of case. Once a father is legally recognized, the court will want to settle the matters of child custody and child support. You want to ensure you receive fair and favorable outcomes regarding these issues, as they will be court orders with which you must comply - possibly for years to come. Your paternity lawyer should also have extensive experience handling custody and support cases, so you ensure that your interests are protected.
Consult with an Experienced Paternity Attorney in St. Louis Today
When you call the J. Rench Law Firm, you can seek help with all of your child-related legal matters, from paternity to child support to custody. Please call 314-725-4000 or contact us online to discuss how we can assist you today.