Paternity Actions In Missouri

At Lance A. Riddle Law Office, Attorneys at Law, we help people throughout Johnson County and surrounding areas in central Missouri understand the complexities of paternity actions and the importance of father's rights and responsibilities.

The issue of paternity most often involves nonmarried couples, but we also represent married individuals in paternity actions, including establishing paternity or nonpaternity and contested paternity cases.

Establishing Paternity

People often seek to establish paternity or nonpaternity in the midst of a child custody or child support case, but it is also beneficial to establish paternity simply to afford yourself and your child with the same rights and benefits enjoyed by married parents and their children, including:

  • Medical or life insurance benefits for your child from either parent
  • Financial support for your child from both parents (e.g., child support, inheritance, military and veterans benefits, and Social Security)
  • Family medical history information
  • The right to seek a child support, custody or visitation order
  • The right to make legal decisions regarding your child

An affidavit of paternity signed by both mother and father, affirming that the child is theirs, is all that is necessary to establish paternity of a child born out of wedlock. Additional methods of establishing paternity include putting the father's name on the birth certificate, getting a DNA test or by filing a petition for paternity and child custody with the local Family Court in Warrensburg.

We help mothers and fathers navigate the appropriate legal process and establish paternity, custody, visitation and support, as necessary.

Establishing Nonpaternity

When parents divorce or separate, the natural father may be responsible for child support, and the state of Missouri will enforce a child support order unless there has been a declaration of nonpaternity in the matter.

Establishing or proving nonpaternity requires "clear and convincing" evidence, which usually means obtaining a court judgment that established paternity of your child by another man or a valid DNA test proving nonpaternity.

Contesting paternity is a time-sensitive issue. You must file a petition to challenge the judgment of paternity and child support within two years of the original judgment.

Speak With A Paternity Lawyer About Your Legal Options Today

Please call our office in Warrensburg at 660-747-6600, or complete our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.