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Establishing paternity can open legal doors for a father

There are several ways that a Missouri man may be designated as the father of a child. If he is married to the child's mother at the time of the birth, then he may be presumed to be the father. He may also acknowledge that he is the father of a child by signing a declaration and including his name on the child's birth certificate.

If a child is born and no father is designated, however, that child may not be able to recognize a legal father until a paternity test is undertaken. A paternity test can determine if a child and a man are biologically related and if the man is a biological parent to the child. Paternity tests use genetic material to compare the DNA of the child to that of the man being tested.

However, just as a child gains rights to collect child support and other benefits from their father, so too may a man assert legal rights as a parent once paternity is established. For example, if a man is found to be a child's father, he may be able to seek custody of his child and visitation time so that he may build his relationship with the youth.

Establishing paternity is often a necessary component to protecting the legal relationship between a father and his children. Without that determination, a child may not be able to benefit from their father's estate or experience other important benefits that only exist between parents and their kids. The Law Office of Barbara Graham can help men who wish to undergo paternity testing with the process of connecting themselves legally to the children they love.

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