If you are a Missouri man who believes you fathered a child, or conversely, if you are a Missouri mother who believes a particular man fathered your child, but he denies it, you may have reason to desire a paternity test. Determining paternity is necessary for an unmarried man who wishes to have rights to a child he fathered, and it is also necessary for any mother who hopes to receive child support for her son or daughter.
There are several different methods you can utilize if you and your child’s other parent were unmarried and you wish to establish paternity in Missouri.
Options for establishing paternity
If you and your child’s other parent reach an agreement regarding paternity, the two of you can simply sign a legal document acknowledging paternity before you leave the hospital with the new baby. You will likely have the option to fill out the form after leaving the hospital, and you may be able to do so either through the state’s Family Support Division or at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ Bureau of Vital Records. You may also be able to secure an order that dictates who fathered the child through the state’s Family Support Division.
When a father is unknown
In situations where it is unclear who fathered a child in question, Missouri’s Family Support Division may step in to conduct free paternity testing. This typically involves garnering DNA samples from the child, the mother and a suspected father and sending those samples away for genetic testing. If the genetic test reveals a father, both parents must still sign an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity to formally establish paternity.
While establishing paternity can help mothers support their children and fathers maintain a presence in their child’s life, it can also offer many benefits for the child. Children who know their fathers typically fare better emotionally than those who do not, and it may also benefit them to have a broader understanding of their medical history, with paternity testing can accomplish.